Marine viruses at hadal depths in deep sea trenches

Main area:Aquatic biology
Target group:Biology, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics
Educational level:Masters
Project description:

The deep hadal trenches are the most remote parts of the global ocean, representing some of the most extreme and scantly explored habitats on Earth. Hadal trenches are also likely hotspots of organic matter deposition fueling biogeochemical cycling in largely unexplored marine ecosystems. Abundances of viruses exceed those of microbes by up to an order of magnitude, representing a diverse and dynamic component of benthic marine ecosystems with important implications for food web structures and biogeochemical cycling.  We recently documented 5‐10 times higher virus densities and extensive spatial variation in hadal sediments as compared to adjacent abyssal sites, suggesting that viruses play a prominent role for microbial mortality and biogeochemical cycling in hadal environments. In a new research project we quantifiy the phylogenetic diversity and composition of hadal benthic microbial and viral communities, identify active microbial players, and quantify the role of viruses in microbial mortality and element cycling. 

Student projects involving the the role of prophages for deep sea bacteria and the effects of hydrostatic pressure for virus-bacteria interactions will be available. 

Methods used:Microbiology, molecular biology, bioinformatics
Keywords:Deep sea sediments, ocean trenches, dybhavsgrave, dybhavet, bacteriophages
Supervisor(s):  Mathias Middelboe, Sachia Jo Traving