Impacts of viruses in oceanic systems and deep sea sediments
We are working with Drs. Roberto Danovaro, Cinzia Corinaldesi, and Gian Marco Luna at the Polytechnic University of Le Marche on the role of deep sea viruses in oceanic processes. Sea-surface warming, sea-ice melting and related freshening, changes in circulation and mixing regimes, and ocean acidification induced by the present climate changes are modifying marine ecosystem structure and function and have the potential to alter the cycling of carbon and nutrients in surface oceans. Changing climate has direct and indirect consequences on marine viruses, including cascading effects on biogeochemical cycles, food webs, and the metabolic balance of the ocean. We are conducting research on the roles of viruses in biogeochemical cycling. We cannot yet predict whether the viruses will exacerbate or attenuate the magnitude of climate changes on marine ecosystems, but we can conduct studies that provide vital information on the host–virus dynamics in the world’s oceans. This will permit the incorporation of the viral component into future ocean climate models and increase the accuracy of the predictions of the climate change impacts on the function of the oceans.
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