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Home / Science / Oceans contain nearly 200,000 viral species

Oceans contain nearly 200,000 viral species



This is just one of the findings of a new study published Thursday in the journal Cell . The research led by scientists at Ohio State University has far-reaching implications, from evolution to biotechnology and climate change.

Matthew Sullivan, a microbiologist at Ohio State University and one of the authors of the study, called it a road map to understand how viruses affect ocean ecosystems.

"This roadmap helps us to do many things that interest us to better understand the sea, and I hate to say it, but may have to develop the ocean at some point against climate change." Sullivan told CNN.

The study found that viruses are organized in five different ecological zones throughout the ocean.

New hotspots of biodiversity have also been identified ̵

1; species-rich areas that are also threatened by human activity. Some of the most surprising hotspots found them in the Arctic Ocean.

Why the study is important

The new findings on biodiversity in the Arctic are important because they provide a starting point for further research in the region from climate change the strongest affected. Now that scientists know that so many types of viruses live in the Arctic, they can investigate why exactly that is and how much of that biodiversity is being lost as climate change continues to affect the region, Sullivan said.

The research also creates an extensive dataset with biotechnological implications.

"Viruses tend to steal genes and do really interesting things with them, so anyone familiar with biotechnology can locate this data set to find new enzymes that can help us in our daily lives whether it's cosmetic products or a new thermal cycler or any kind of technical process, "explained Sullivan.

A rotating team of scientists entered a sailing boat called Tara between 2009 and 2013, collecting water samples from various depths in many geographic regions. These samples were then filtered and sent to dozens of different laboratories that are part of the effort known as the Tara Oceans Consortium.

The Implications of the Study

The study could also help scientists understand how viruses affect the Earth's atmosphere – and how viruses can mitigate the effects of climate change. Sullivan said.

Marine organisms produce half of the oxygen we breathe, and the ocean removes half of the carbon dioxide that humans release into the atmosphere, acting as what Sullivan calls a "climate sponge." This process is largely caused by viruses.

Through this research, scientists may be able to develop oceans against climate change; H. They could manipulate viruses to remove more carbon dioxide from the air.

] "To do this in a socially responsible way requires a lot of understanding, but I think that this kind of study is a good basis for thinking that way," said Sullivan.


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