Seasonal dynamics of algae-infecting viruses and their inferred interactions with protists
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Viruses are a highly abundant, dynamic, and diverse component of planktonic communities that have key roles in marine ecosystems. We aimed to reveal the diversity and dynamics of marine large dsDNA viruses infecting algae in the Northern Skagerrak, South Norway through the year by metabarcoding, targeting the major capsid protein (MCP) and its correlation to protist diversity and dynamics. Metabarcoding results demonstrated a high diversity of algal viruses compared to previous metabarcoding surveys in Norwegian coastal waters. We obtained 313 putative algal virus operational taxonomic units (vOTUs), all classified by phylogenetic analyses to either the Phycodnaviridae or Mimiviridae families, most of them in clades without any cultured or environmental reference sequences. The viral community showed a clear temporal variation, with some vOTUs persisting for several months. The results indicate co-occurrences between abundant viruses and potential hosts during long periods. This study gives new insights into the virus-algal host dynamics and provides a baseline for future studies of algal virus diversity and temporal dynamics.