Algal Bloom Viruses

  • Brussaard C
  • Martínez J
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Abstract

Although viral infections of vascular plants have been studied intensively for a long time already, it is only relatively recent that the ecological importance of algal viruses was recognized. The scientific field of phycovirology is exciting and rapidly changing as new viruses are isolated on a regular basis. The biology of algal viruses is diverse; including DNA and RNA viruses, double-stranded as well as single-stranded, ranging in genome size from a few to over 500 kb. The various sorts of algae play significant roles in aquatic ecology, with the so-called algal bloom forming species being able to occur in high abundance. Many of the algal viruses in culture infect bloom- forming algal hosts, probably as a result of the extra effort put into studying algal blooms for socio-political and economical reasons, and the high abundance of host cells. In the following review, a synopsis of the available information on viruses infecting bloom-forming algal species will be provided. It will describe the discovery, characteristics and molecular biology of the algal bloom viruses. The ecological impact of these algal bloom viruses on the host’s population dynamics, ecosystem functioning and biogeochemical cycling will be outlined. Finally, challenges for the future of algal virology will be discussed

Author-supplied keywords

  • abbreviations
  • aquatic
  • cds
  • coding sequence
  • cyanophage
  • denaturating gradient gel electrophoresis
  • dgge
  • dimethyl-
  • dimethylsulfide
  • dms
  • dmsp
  • dna pol
  • dna polymerase gene
  • hab
  • harmful algal bloom
  • ncldv
  • nucleocytoplasmic large dna virus
  • open reading frame
  • orf
  • pfge
  • phycoviruses
  • phytoplankton
  • pulsed field gel electrophoresis
  • rdrp
  • restriction fragment
  • rflp
  • rna-dependent rna polymerase
  • sulfoniopropionate
  • virology

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Authors

  • C P D Brussaard

  • Joaquín Martínez

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