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Viruses take down massive algal blooms, with big implications for climate
Date:8/21/2014

he virus-infected algae release sticky sugars and lipids, leading their cells and the carbon within them to sink faster to the ocean floor.

"If the latter scenario is true, it will have a profound impact [on] the efficiency of carbon dioxide 'pumping' from the atmosphere to the deep ocean," Vardi says. "This carbon will then have a better chance [of being] buried in the ocean sediment."

The findings will improve models that predict the future of algal blooms and their impact on climate. They also serve as a reminder that sometimes it really is the little things that matter.

"These interactions begin when one virus infects one cell, but they end up causing the collapse of massive blooms that span thousands of kilometers," Koren says. "These life-and-death interactions on the micro scale have huge importance on the large scale and vice versa."


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Contact: Mary Beth O'Leary
moleary@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert  

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