Diel and daily fluctuations in virioplankton production in coastal ecosystems

Environ Microbiol. 2009 Nov;11(11):2904-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2009.02038.x. Epub 2009 Aug 24.


Viruses saturate the world around us, yet a basic understanding of how viral impacts on microbial host organisms vary over days to hours, which typify the replication cycles of aquatic viruses, remains elusive. Thus, diel patterns of viral production (VP) in Chesapeake Bay surface waters were examined on five sampling dates. Day-to-day variations in VP in the Chesapeake and coastal California surface waters were also investigated. Significant variations in VP were detected over 24 h cycles during four of five studies, but rates did not vary significantly over the course of a few days in either location. Diel patterns of VP displayed seasonality with shorter viral assemblage turnover times and shorter times to maximum viral abundance in summer, implying shorter replication cycles for virus-host systems in warmer months. No correlation was found between VP and time of day, likely due to seasonal changes in the diel patterns of VP. This analysis significantly increases our knowledge of the short-term patterning of in situ VP, and thus viral impacts, and suggests that variations in viral biology in response to changes in host communities or physio-chemical properties affect both diel and seasonal cycles and magnitudes of VP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / virology*
  • Bacteriophages / isolation & purification*
  • California
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Ecosystem*
  • Maryland
  • Seasons
  • Seawater / virology*
  • Time Factors
  • Viral Load*