The Arctic Ocean: reservoir of marine viruses

Tara Oceans Expedition ship in the arctic ocean
PHOTO: François Aurat / Fondation Tara Expéditions

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Results from the Tara Oceans expedition reveal the importance of the Arctic Ocean as a cradle of viral biodiversity

A new study published in Cell, based mainly on data from the Tara Oceans expedition (2009–2013), provides the most comprehensive catalogue of viruses found in all the world’s oceans to date. It increases the number of known oceanic viral populations from 16 000 to nearly 200 000.

This work reveals the importance of the Arctic Ocean as a reservoir of marine viruses, and will become a reference for understanding the role of viruses in the way ocean ecosystems respond to climate change.

The study was led by Ohio State University in the United States, and involved teams from the CEA, CNRS, EMBL, ENS-PSL, and the Tara Foundation.

EMBL is where the idea for Tara Oceans was born. EMBL scientist Eric Karsenti initiated the expedition and led its scientific activities. More than 35 000 samples from the world’s oceans were collected during the Tara Oceans expedition. EMBL coordinates the expedition’s scientific consortium, which includes more than 100 scientists from 18 partner institutions. EMBL continues to make crucial contributions in data analysis, data storage, and in making all data publicly available.

For more information, read the full press release at: https://oceans.taraexpeditions.org/en/m/science/news/press-release-taraoceans_cell/