Do you like oceans? Are you fascinated by it’s wonderful beauty?
Well, we have a fact for you. It contains innumerable no of viruses than we previously thought. A new study revealed that there are almost 200,000 distinct viral populations in the ocean.
1 liter sea water contains 1–10 billion virus particles. Before this research, largest amount for ocean viral populations was 15,222. Researchers analyzed samples from 80 different sites all over the world from 2009 to 2013. Over 180,000 additional unique viral populations were revealed summing to 200,000. Besides humans, viruses affects notably all biological organisms, even bacteria(bacteriophages). A solution to antibiotic resistance and environmentally-borne pathogens is Phage Therapy.
So knowing the interaction of viruses with bacteria is beneficial for human health. Viruses kill innumerable marine microbes, releasing a significant amount of carbon dioxide back into the environment, thereby playing a critical role in food chain. Viruses also steal energy from oceanic bacteria and reduces the amount of carbon dioxide those bacteria can take out of the atmosphere. Studying these new revealed viruses could give us more insight into how oceans cycles organic matter. Oceans are thought to be our biggest carbon sink- absorbing between 30–50% of carbon emissions. The new data suggests 5 distinct groups of viral populations distinguished by their unique adaptations to both location and depth. This study revealed that about 40 % of the new viral populations are in the Arctic Ocean.
There are still a lot of mystery hidden inside viruses. We don’t even know whether they are technically alive or not. Viruses shows properties of ‘aliveness’ but many are unable to survive long without a host for replication. Some claim viruses as the smallest and most abundant ‘biotic agents’ in the world. There are still regions in the ocean which needs to be sampled farther. Exploring more diversity can help us understanding what exactly a virus is, how they work and how we can use them to our advantage.