Microbial Ecology

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 141–151 | Cite as

High concentrations of viruses in the sediments of Lac Gilbert, Québec

  • R. Maranger
  • D. F. Bird


Viruses were found to be very abundant in the top layer of the sediments of Lac Gilbert, Québec. Viruses were extracted from the sediments using pyrophosphate buffer, and viruses from the diluted extracts were pelleted onto grids and enumerated using transmission electron microscopy. Viral abundance in the sediments ranged from 6.5 × 108 to 1.83 × 1010 ml−1, which is 10- to 1,000-fold greater than the number observed in the water column. This increase corresponds well with the 100- to 1,000-fold increase in bacterial abundance in the sediments. Viral abundance differed significantly among the surface sediment samples taken at different bottom depths and among samples taken at different depths of the water column. Viral abundance also varied significantly between the oxic and anoxic zones of the water column and the sediments. The virus-to-bacteria ratio varied greatly among the different sediment sites but not among depths in the water column. Viral abundance in the water column was related to bacterial abundance and chlorophyll concentration, whereas viruses in the sediments were most abundant in sediments with high organic matter content. Elevated viral abundance and their erratic distribution in the sediments suggest that viruses might play an important role in sediment microbial dynamics.


Transmission Electron Microscopy Chlorophyll Water Column Sediment Sample Surface Sediment 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Vertag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Maranger
    • 1
  • D. F. Bird
    • 1
  1. 1.Département des Sciences BiologiquesUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontréalCanada

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