Viral and microbial community dynamics in four aquatic environments

Beltran Rodriguez-Brito, Lin Lin Li, Linda Wegley, Mike Furlan, Florent Angly, Mya Breitbart, John Buchanan, Christelle Desnues, Elizabeth Dinsdale, Robert Edwards, Ben Felts, Matthew Haynes, Hong Liu, David Lipson, Joseph Mahaffy, Anna Belen Martin-Cuadrado, Alex Mira, Jim Nulton, Lejla Pašić, Steve RayhawkJennifer Rodriguez-Mueller, Francisco Rodriguez-Valera, Peter Salamon, Shailaja Srinagesh, Tron Frede Thingstad, Tuong Tran, Rebecca Vega Thurber, Dana Willner, Merry Youle, Forest Rohwer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

297 Citations (Scopus)


The species composition and metabolic potential of microbial and viral communities are predictable and stable for most ecosystems. This apparent stability contradicts theoretical models as well as the viral-microbial dynamics observed in simple ecosystems, both of which show Kill-the-Winner behavior causing cycling of the dominant taxa. Microbial and viral metagenomes were obtained from four human-controlled aquatic environments at various time points separated by one day to > 1 year. These environments were maintained within narrow geochemical bounds and had characteristic species composition and metabolic potentials at all time points. However, underlying this stability were rapid changes at the fine-grained level of viral genotypes and microbial strains. These results suggest a model wherein functionally redundant microbial and viral taxa are cycling at the level of viral genotypes and virus-sensitive microbial strains. Microbial taxa, viral taxa, and metabolic function persist over time in stable ecosystems and both communities fluctuate in a Kill-the-Winner manner at the level of viral genotypes and microbial strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739-751
Number of pages13
JournalISME Journal
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Aquatic environments
  • Community dynamics
  • Kill-the-Winner
  • Metagenomics
  • Viruses


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