John Libbey Eurotext

Virologie

The essential role of viruses in marine ecology Volume 21, issue 4, Juillet-Août 2017

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Authors
Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Université Paris 06, France
CNRS, Adaptation et diversité en milieu marin UMR7144, Station biologique de Roscoff, Place Georges Teissier, 29680 Roscoff, France
* Tirés à part
  • Key words: marine viruses, microbial communities, ecosystem, evolution, ecology
  • DOI : 10.1684/vir.2017.0704
  • Page(s) : 160-72
  • Published in: 2017

In less than 50 years, marine viruses shifted from meaningless entities to major players of the oceanic ecosystems. These parasites numerically dominate marine microbial communities and mostly infect micro-organisms (bacteria, microalgae and other protists) that constitute the basis of trophic levels in the ocean. Viruses that replicate though a lysogenic cycle affect genetic expression of the host and promote horizontal gene transfer within the marine microbial communities. Viruses that replicate through a lytic cycle contribute to the control of host population and the release of a large amount of organic matter in the ocean. From the genetic manipulation of their hosts to the modification of the biogeochemical cycles, the marine viruses play a pivotal role for the structure and the functioning of their environment and cannot be excluded from ecological models anymore. This review presents the impact of viruses on the marine environment by focusing on three integration scales: the cell, the community and the ecosystem.