Researchers plan to enlist ocean viruses in climate change fight (Via Financial Times)
The trillions of marine viruses that inhabit the world’s oceans could be mobilised in the fight against climate change. New studies suggest that manipulating the viruses that infect most of the bacteria in the oceans enables the microbes to absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which could be employed to tackle global warming. Viruses, known as phages, influence many aspects of their bacterial hosts’ behaviour, including the amount of carbon dioxide they absorb. This affects climate because bacteria in the oceans are an important “carbon sink”, removing warming gas from the atmosphere. “We have been asking which organisms drive carbon export into the oceans,” said Matt Sullivan, professor of microbiology at Ohio State University. “It turns out viruses best predict carbon absorption into the deep sea.” Read more.