Microbial Ecology

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 209–221 | Cite as

Viruses and the microbial loop

  • G. Bratbak
  • F. Thingstad
  • M. Heldal
Controls of the Microbial Loop: Biotic Factors


The abundance of viral-like particles in marine ecosystems ranges from <104 ml−1 to >108 ml−1. Their distribution in time and space parallels that of other biological parameters such as bacterial abundance and chlorophyll a. There is a lack of consensus between methods used to assess viral activity, i.e., rate of change in viral abundance (increase or decrease). The highest rates, 10–100 days−1, are observed in experiments with short sampling intervals (0.2–2 h), while lower rates, on the order of 1 day−1, are observed in experiments with longer sampling intervals (days). Few studies have been carried out, but viruses appear, at least in some cases, to have a significant impact on carbon and nutrient flow in microbial food webs. Viruses have also been demonstrated to exert a species specific control of both bacteria and phytoplankton populations in natural waters.


Chlorophyll Phytoplankton Sampling Interval Marine Ecosystem Biological Parameter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Bratbak
    • 1
  • F. Thingstad
    • 1
  • M. Heldal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway

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