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  • If you didn’t think the ocean could get anymore weird, wonderful and kinda freaky...have

  • I got news for you.

  • There are viruses in it.

  • A lot more than we previously thought.

  • A new study reveals there are almost 200,000 distinct viral populations in the ocean.

  • A liter of sea water contains anywhere between 1-10 billion virus particlesmost of which

  • we don’t know anything about!

  • Our understanding of these elusive microbial communities has just started to come into focus

  • in the last few decades, and this new research is a huge step toward better understanding of

  • our oceans.

  • Before this study, the highest number we had for ocean viral populations was about 15,000...but

  • this new study pretty much blows that already impressive number out of the water.

  • From 2009 to 2013, researchers analyzed samples from about 80 different sites all over the

  • world, from sunny surfaces to thousands of meters down into the depths.

  • They found over 180,000 additional unique viral populations, bringing the total to almost

  • 200,000.

  • And the diversity of these new populations is seriously stunning!

  • Ok, ok but why do we care?

  • We may mostly think of viruses in terms of human disease.

  • Theyre the cause of everything from the common cold to HIV.

  • But viruses can infect all biological organisms, perhaps most notably...bacteria.

  • Viruses that kill bacteria are called bacteriophages, or phages for short.

  • Phage therapy is being explored as a solution to antibiotic resistance and environmentally-borne

  • pathogens. So understanding how viruses interact with bacteria is important to human health,

  • cause they can actually be our friends in some situations.

  • But viruses also play essential roles outside of our bodies.

  • They kill marine microbes, too, and they kill SO MANY that they actually release a really

  • significant amount of carbon back into the environment, playing a critical role in the

  • food chain, all the way down to the very bottom.

  • On the other hand, viruses also steal energy from oceanic bacteria and therefore lessen

  • the amount of carbon dioxide those bacteria can take out of the atmosphere, which is obviously

  • not ideal, so it’s a delicate balance, and a complex relationship.

  • Studying these new viruses could give us more insight into how the oceans cycle organic

  • matterwhich is really important.

  • Oceans are thought to be our biggest carbon sinkabsorbing between 30-50% of human-made

  • carbon emissions.

  • Exploring these new viruses means that we could potentially manipulate viral populations

  • to our advantage.

  • Maybe we could increase the viral community’s ability to move carbon dioxide from the shallow,

  • surface parts of the ocean into the deep ocean, sequestering it into biomatter so it doesn’t

  • clog up our atmosphere or acidify the oceans.

  • The new data suggests five distinct groups of viral populations distinguished by their

  • unique adaptations to both location and depth.

  • Plus, something really surprising!

  • With most organisms, diversity is clustered around the equator.

  • But the researchers in this study found that about 40% of the new viral populations are

  • in the Arctic Ocean—a part of our oceans that’s particularly under threat from

  • changing climate.

  • And finally, viruses are still very mysterious.

  • There’s lots we don’t understand about them and the way they work, like...where did

  • they come from?

  • Were not even really sure if viruses are technically alive.

  • Viruses exhibit some qualities ofaliveness’, but many are unable to survive long without

  • a host, and all need a host to replicate

  • soooo... neyhhh.

  • Some scientists settle for calling virusesbiotic agents, or something that acts on

  • life’—and they are the smallest and most abundant biotic agents in the world.

  • And even though this particular project uncovered over 180,000 viral populations that are new

  • to us, there are still regions of the ocean that need to be sampled further, and there

  • are many more probably waiting to be discovered.

  • This vast, untapped diversity that were just starting to dive into could help us gain

  • better understanding of what exactly a virus is, how they work, and how we could use them to

  • our advantage.

  • If you want more on oceanic discoveries, check out this video here.

  • If you have any other microbial news you want us to cover, let us know down in

  • the comments, and make sure you subscribe to Seeker for all you viral content.

  • Thanks for watching, and well see you next time.

If you didn’t think the ocean could get anymore weird, wonderful and kinda freaky...have

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B1 中級 新型コロナウイルス 新型肺炎 COVID-19

新たに発見された19万以上のウイルスが海に潜んでいます。 (Over 190,000 Newly Discovered Viruses Are Lurking in Our Oceans, Here’s What You Should Know)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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