Cristin-prosjekt-ID: 2500016
Sist endret: 11. januar 2021, 19:52

Cristin-prosjekt-ID: 2500016
Sist endret: 11. januar 2021, 19:52
Prosjekt

VirVar (Uncovering key players for regulation of phytoplankton function and structure: lessons to be learned from algal virus-haptophyte coexistence)

prosjektleder

Ruth-Anne Sandaa
ved Universitetet i Bergen

prosjekteier / koordinerende forskningsansvarlig enhet

  • Universitetet i Bergen

Klassifisering

Vitenskapsdisipliner

Økologi • Generell mikrobiologi

Kategorier

Prosjektkategori

  • Grunnforskning

Tidsramme

Aktivt
Start: 11. januar 2021 Slutt: 30. november 2023

Beskrivelse Beskrivelse

Tittel

VirVar (Uncovering key players for regulation of phytoplankton function and structure: lessons to be learned from algal virus-haptophyte coexistence)

Populærvitenskapelig sammendrag

VirVar will provide knowledge of basic mechanisms in the relationship between viruses and their phytoplankton hosts and how this effect the primary production in the Ocean. Viruses are the most abundant biological entities on the planet. In one drop of seawater there is as many as one million viruses. This means that there are more viruses in one litre of seawater than humans on our planet. Most of these viruses infect microbes, that is bacteria archaea and phytoplankton, the main primary producers of the world’s oceans. By infecting and killing these microbes, viruses affect all microbial processes, such as global fixation and cycling of key elements e.g. carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous. However, not all viruses cause harm to their hosts. Some have developed different ways to “live” in peace together with their host or even being beneficial for host survival. How these different forms of relationships are established, and how they affect the function of the host community, is however unknown. VirVar will focus on viral-host pairs with different relationships (high mortality-persistence) as model systems using key phytoplankton hosts of great importance for primary production in the world’s oceans. By using this unique virus-host model systems, combined with molecular biology, modeling and bioinformatics, the project will provide basic knowledge of factors important for development of the different stages in a virus- host relationship and investigate how these different stages effect the diversity of the primary producers in the ocean. This information is crucial for a better understanding of viral ecology in a changing ocean, but also for basic evolutionary understanding of all virus host relationships, including pathogenic viruses for humans, animals or plants.

Vitenskapelig sammendrag

Marine phytoplankton account for approx. 50% of global primary production and constitute the base of the food chain that supply nearly all other life-forms in the ocean [1]. By viral lysis, viruses shunt 10 % of this production through the viral loop [2] affecting both the structure and the function of the phytoplankton community. Despite this importance, the scarce knowledge we have gained to date is based on virus-phytoplankton host systems that are not common in the marine environment (recent/acute, boom-bust systems), while information on representative systems (established/persistent host-virus systems) is almost entirely lacking.  VirVar will use novel and ecologically relevant virus-host model systems that are at different evolutionary stages (recent/acute to established/persistent) to gain a basic understanding of success factors (fitness traits-trade-offs) and their effect on variation and change in the structure and function of some of the most important keystone species within marine phytoplankton communities. Building on 30 years of expertise in our research group studying viral ecology, we will predict, by modeling, how differences in fitness traits/evolutionary stages influence the diversity of virus-phytoplankton communities and further investigate the in situ diversity (in a changing Arctic and northern area environment) of these virus-host populations and specific fitness traits. We will use haptophytes, a ubiquitous phytoplankton group with great importance for the Arctic and northern areas, and their viruses as model systems. These viruses belong to a virus family (Mimiviridae) which has, due to giant genomes and the presence of unexpected genes, provided the most spectacular breakthroughs in virology in decades transforming our view on their biology, origin and evolution [3]. By bringing together multidisciplinary, world-class international and national expertise in the fields of microbial ecology and evolution, modeling, bioinformatics, and proteomics, VirVar will identify factors governing the relationships between these unique viruses and their phytoplankton hosts that will provide a more comprehensive, complete, and even holistic understanding of the role of viruses as regulators of the structure and ecosystem functions of the marine microbial food web.

prosjektdeltakere

prosjektleder

Ruth-Anne Sandaa

  • Tilknyttet:
    Prosjektleder
    ved Universitetet i Bergen
  • Tilknyttet:
    Prosjektdeltaker
    ved Institutt for biovitenskap ved Universitetet i Bergen

Marius Rydningen Saltvedt

  • Tilknyttet:
    Prosjektdeltaker
    ved Universitetet i Bergen

Ida Helene Steen

  • Tilknyttet:
    Prosjektdeltaker
    ved Universitetet i Bergen

Håkon Dahle

  • Tilknyttet:
    Prosjektdeltaker
    ved Universitetet i Bergen
Aktiv cristin-person

Bente Edvardsen

  • Tilknyttet:
    Prosjektdeltaker
    ved Universitetet i Oslo
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