Picture of the Tara expedition facilitated by Cell magazine. Credit: Gregory et al
"Viruses are the little things you can not see, but since they are present in so many, they are important," said the author of the research. Matthew Sullivan, a microbiologist at Ohio State University (USA)
He explained that his team prepared a map for the distribution of these viruses that could be used to see how they manipulate the ecosystem: "There are many things that surprised us about our findings," he said.
One of them was the discovery of the existence of nearly 200,000 marine virus viruses that, according to the conducted analysis, are organized in five ecological zones around the ocean, something unexpected for scientists due to the fluid of the sea and the complexity of its regions.
Despite the paradigm that applies to larger organisms, the differences in species species are larger near the equator and smaller near the pillars, the researchers gathered many samples in the Arctic compared to previous studies and found a focus on biodiversity in that ocean.
These samples were collected between 2009 and 2013 within Oceans Research Project in Tara, which aims to predict the impact of climate change.
After this compilation, the samples were selected and sent to a dozen laboratories.
Experts focused not only on viruses, but also on other types of microorganisms and creatures.
"We chose samples to analyze microorganisms by classifying them by size, from viruses to eggs," explained Sullivan.
Influence of oceanic microorganisms
The research has important implications for understanding the impact of oceanic microorganisms on the atmosphere: "In the last 20 years or so, we've learned that half of the oxygen we breathe comes from marine organisms," the microbiologist explained.
At the same time, he added, "the oceans absorb half of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere."
Scientists have noticed that, due to complex chemical processes, the increase in carbon dioxide levels on the surface they squeezed the oceans.
"However, if carbon dioxide is converted into organic carbon and biomass, then it can become a particle and sink into the deep oceans," he said. This is a good result to help alleviate climate change caused by man and we learn that viruses can contribute to its collapse. "EFE