Seasonal determinations of algal virus decay rates reveal overwintering in a temperate freshwater pond

Algal viruses
Monday, April 4, 2016 - 4:18pm

Andrew LongThis week we bring you the Long and Short of the Hot Student Paper series – that is Andrew Long (Ph.D. student) and Prof. Steve Short. And this one is of extra significance, because it is the first lead-authored paper from Andrew’s Ph.D. – CONGRATULATIONS! His paper was just published in The ISME Journal and it is entitled “Seasonal determinations of algal virus decay rates reveal overwintering in a temperate freshwater pond”. Algal viruses, which infect the dominant primary producers in aquatic systems, are the giants of the virus world and are important drivers of aquatic ecosystem processes. Half-lives of many algal viruses have been recorded on the scale of hours during the summer. It was therefore shocking when Andrew’s seasonal decay experiments found that all three algal viruses he studied survived 126 days frozen in ice over the winter. Moreover, 48 % of their infectivity was intact by the end of winter. The comparably high decay rates in the summer suggest that there exists a seasonal bottleneck for the survival of algal viruses. Congratulations on this milestone Andrew!