“Interested Inhuman life, Octopus scientist reaches land to take observations”

An octopus attached itself to the side of a tank researchers used to sample ocean water from the surface to as deep as 2,500 meters and around hydrothermal vents. What the team discovered about the bacteria and viruses living around the vents surprised them ..

Not all viral infections are nasty. Marine bacteria thriving in extreme heat and harsh chemicals spewing from deep-sea hydrothermal vents may get significant help from viruses, researchers report online in the Aug. 21 ISME Journal.

Viruses that inject themselves into the marine bacteria play an “incredibly important” role in shaping these aquatic ecosystems and might even encourage evolution in microbes, the scientists say.

“The real splash is that at the deep sea vents we found consistently high levels of bacteria that seemed to harbor these cryptic viruses,” says study co-author Eric Wommack, a viral ecologist at the University of Delaware in Newark. Virus-wielding bacteria have been found in other marine environments, but this study is the first to investigate the role that viruses play in deep-ocean ecosystems.

What’s more, the vent viruses appear to harbor genes never before encountered in any other organism, says the study’s lead author, environmental virologist Shannon Williamson of the J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla, Calif.


via Science news