Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Corinaldesi C., Crevatin E., Marini M., Russo A., Fonda Umani S., Danovaro R. Large-scale spatial distribution of virioplankton in the Adriatic Sea: Testing the trophic state control hypothesis. In: Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol. 69 (5) pp. 2664 - 2673. AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY, 2003.
Little is known concerning environmental factors that may control the distribution of virioplankton on large spatial scales. In previous studies workers reported high viral levels in eutrophic systems and suggested that the trophic state is a possible driving force controlling the spatial distribution of viruses. In order to test this hypothesis, we determined the distribution of viral abundance and bacterial abundance and the virus-to-bacterium ratio in a wide area covering the entire Adriatic basin (Mediterranean Sea). To gather additional information on factors controlling viral distribution on a large scale, functional microbial parameters (exoenzymatic activities, bacterial production and turnover) were related to trophic gradients. At large spatial scales, viral distribution was independent of autotrophic biomass and all other environmental parameters. We concluded that in contrast to what was previously hypothesized, changing trophic conditions do not directly affect virioplankton distribution. Since virus distribution was coupled with bacterial turnover times, our results suggest that viral abundance depends on bacterial activity and on host cell abundance.
DOI: 10.1128/AEM.69.5.2664-2673.2003
Subject Gulf of Mexico
marine viruses
coastal waters
bacterial biomass

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