The marine viromes of four oceanic regions

Florent E. Angly, Ben Felts, Mya Breitbart, Peter Salamon, Robert A. Edwards, Craig Carlson, Amy M. Chan, Matthew Haynes, Scott Kelley, Hong Liu, Joseph M. Mahaffy, Jennifer E. Mueller, Jim Nulton, Robert Olson, Rachel Parsons, Steve Rayhawk, Curtis A. Suttle, Forest Rohwer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

744 Citations (Scopus)


Viruses are the most common biological entities in the marine environment. There has not been a global survey of these viruses, and consequently, it is not known what types of viruses are in Earth's oceans or how they are distributed. Metagenomic analyses of 184 viral assemblages collected over a decade and representing 68 sites in four major oceanic regions showed that most of the viral sequences were not similar to those in the current databases. There was a distinct "marine-ness" quality to the viral assemblages. Global diversity was very high, presumably several hundred thousand of species, and regional richness varied on a North-South latitudinal gradient. The marine regions had different assemblages of viruses. Cyanophages and a newly discovered clade of single-stranded DNA phages dominated the Sargasso Sea sample, whereas prophage-like sequences were most common in the Arctic. However most viral species were found to be widespread. With a majority of shared species between oceanic regions, most of the differences between viral assemblages seemed to be explained by variation in the occurrence of the most common viral species and not by exclusion of different viral genomes. These results support the idea that viruses are widely dispersed and that local environmental conditions enrich for certain viral types through selective pressure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2121-2131
Number of pages11
JournalPLOS Biology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright: c 2006 Angly et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Dive into the research topics of 'The marine viromes of four oceanic regions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this