The Cuatro Ciénegas Basin (CCB) is a biologically exceptional place. In general, CCB aquatic systems are extremely oligotrophic, but paradoxically they are extraordinarily biodiverse, and viruses are not an exception. Previous studies had shown that two stable ecosystems within CCB had very different virus; one of them, Pozas Azules, presented divergent virus with a marine affiliation. In this chapter, we compare an earlier study with the virome of three sites at CCB, sampled in 2014, including fish guts from one of the sites. The idea was to test if the virus follows, like a mirror image, the diversity of a site, by showing us the predators vs their prey.
In order to do so, we included all type of virus in this analysis and had a very good coverage in the sequencing. For every sample, more than half of the reads did not match any known sequence deposited in databases. We found a very high virus diversity in all samples. We detected 1691 different viral species, belonging to 170 genera, classified in 40 viral families. It is important to mention that these viruses represent 38.5% of viral families characterized today. At genus level, 33.7% of known viral genera were detected in CCB in the last sampling, with more than half species described (53.8%). The relation between the viral community patterns within and among the sampling aquatic systems in CCB was tested using a canonical analysis of principal coordinates and a nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) on a dissimilarity matrix from species abundance in each sample. The analysis showed three separated clusters associated to the sampling sites, being Pozas Rojas very different to Churince and La Becerra, which makes sense since they are very close geographically; a third cluster was the fish samples since by their diet the fish gut enriched for invertebrates and plants virome. The virome diversity of the CCB samples indicated a high diversity compared to other water samples, either from freshwater or ocean samples, suggesting that CCB water systems are among the highest virus biodiversity estimates recorded.
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We thank the Instituto de Biotecnología-UNAM for granting access to its computer cluster, Jerome Verleyen and Juan Manuel Hurtado for their computational support, Laura Espinosa Asuar and Erika Aguirre Planter for technical assistance, the Protected Area APFF-Cuatro Cienegas Ciénegas for their logistics and facilitation, Arturo Gonzales from Museo del Desierto de Saltillo for their permit to work in La Becerra, the people of Ejido del Venado for the permit to work in Pozas Rojas, the high school CBTA22 for their molecular lab facilities, and the work of the high school students during the processing of the samples. This chapter was written during a sabbatical leave of VS in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, in Dr. Michael Travisano’s laboratory, and of LEE, in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of Minnesota, in Dr. Peter Tiffin’s laboratory, both supported by the program PASPA-DGAPA, UNAM.
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