Scientists Triple The Number Of Known Viruses In The World’s Oceans

Ocean Leadership ~

“Ten years ago I would never have dreamed that we could establish such an extensive catalog of ocean organisms around the world,” Sullivan said in the OSU news brief (Credit: CameliaTWU/Flickr)

(Click to enlarge) “Ten years ago I would never have dreamed that we could establish such an extensive catalog of ocean organisms around the world,” Sullivan said in the OSU news brief (Credit: CameliaTWU/Flickr)

An international research team has tripled the number of known types of viruses living in waters worldwide, which they say could help scientists understand the role viruses play in nature and how they can “bolster efforts to curb greenhouse gasses.”

(From The Weather Channel / by Pam Wright)– The study, published in Nature on Sept. 21, was conducted by an international team of scientists led by Ohio State University from samples collected from the world’s oceans from scientists, including Melissa Duhaime, a biologist at the University of Michigan. 

According to an OSU news brief, their work will likely have “far-reaching implications, including ultimately helping to preserve the environment through reducing excess carbon humans put into the atmosphere.”

As oceans soak up carbon, oceans become more acidic, which put some ocean-dwellers, including shellfish, at risk. The scientists say “understanding how microbes and viruses interact is critical to any possible management efforts.”

The Ohio State researchers used viral samples collected by more than 200 scientists on the three-year Tara Oceans Expeditionand data from the Spanish-led 2010 Malaspina expedition to identify and classify the viruses.

Lead author Simon Roux, a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Matthew Sullivan, the study’s senior author and associate professor of microbiology at OSU,  analyzed genetic information from those samples to catalog 15,222 genetically distinct viruses and group them into 867 clusters that share similar properties. 

Read the full article here:

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Jon White – From the President’s Office: 9-26-2016

Ocean Leadership ~

President’s Cornerpresphotomonterey

I was in Monterey much of last week attending the MTS/IEEE “Oceans 2016” conference and visiting Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Lab. It was a pleasure and an honor to follow Dr. Marcia McNutt (president of the National Academy of Sciences and COL at-large trustee) as a plenary speaker at the conference. But my real enjoyment was in seeing the impressive and enthusiastic ocean scientists and technologists demonstrating and discussing the advances that will help us observe, understand, and care for our ocean. While we will continue to use our ocean for transportation and resources, we know that we must do so sustainably and smartly if we are to survive and thrive on this oceanic planet. I salute the many people and organizations at the Oceans 2016 conference who are committed to doing just that and the leadership of MTS (a COL member) and IEEE for putting this conference together.
Monterey is the perfect place to have such an event, given its rich history in marine science. There are many ocean institutions in the area, including COL members Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), and Hopkins Marine Lab. I spent time with a collaborative team Professor Barbara Block of Hopkins Marine Lab formed with scientists from several institutions. The team is using a mix of science and technology (such as tuna and shark tagging and tracking) to find ways to monitor and improve the health and resiliency of species and ecosystems in the face of human activity, such as overfishing and illegal fishing. My photo this week is taken in front of the Hopkins Marine Lab library with several impressive representatives of this team (who spent a few hours educating me on their ground-breaking efforts) and even includes a tinge of the predominant “Monterey fog” that results from cold water upwelling in Monterey Bay.
Meanwhile back in DC … I am thrilled at the great turnout at a congressional briefing that we hosted with Representatives Sam Farr and Suzanne Bonamici last week. I was happy to hear that so many congressional staff, agency representatives, and other NGOs came out to hear about the wide-reaching impacts of ocean acidification, not only on ocean productivity, but on our nation’s economic stability and homeland security. We had representatives from several of our member institutions present. Dr. George Waldbusser from Oregon State University talked about OA’s impact to oyster larvae and the possible mitigating role of seagrasses, Dr. Thomas Miller from University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory spoke on how OA impacts blue crabs, and Nancy Colleton from the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies welcomed our audience and congressional speakers and addressed the overarching economic and security implications of OA. For a more thorough review of the briefing, which also included NOAA representation by Dr. Dwight Gledhill, see our summary here.

RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.); M.S.
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership

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