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Outrageousriver t1_ize5o5j wrote

Important note, there are 10 million viruses that are absolutely harmful to sea life. Viruses only exist through the destruction of other cells. However, the vast majority of these viruses target microscopic organisms. So while we as humans never directly see their impacts the ecosystem impacts of viruses are actually massive and very important in how nutrients cycle through the ocean!


ZachTheCommie t1_izf93s5 wrote

I'd estimate that the vast majority of those viruses are bacteriophages, and pose no threat to multicellular organisms.


vibriojoey t1_izfdl1f wrote

I assumed the author was more concerned with mostly humans and non plankton fauna. Since most marine fauna are so far evolutionary from humans the odds of viruses crossing over to us is extremely low but never zero. But phages, plant viruses, and other viruses that target protists would definitely make up the bulk of viruses in a drop of water.

Marine Microbiology is a neglected field and I would estimate there a lot of bacteria and viruses in a drop of water that dont even have a name yet. I know we found some weird H2S reducing bacteria smelly sand back in undergrad that we sent for sequencing that didnt have a species name yet it was genetically far enough from its closest Desulfovibrio it could be a new species. So who knows what else is out there if you wanted to put the effort into isolating and sequencing every specimen you can.


Laetitian t1_izen4jz wrote

> "Viruses only exist through the destruction of other cells."

Yes, but I would assume they survive significantly longer in ocean water than they would in a dry place on land, right? Thus those 10 million viruses in a seawater drop wouldn't all necessarily have infected an orgamism quite as recently as you would expect from our experience with viruses in the air or on a dry surface.