Interactions between marine viruses and microbes are a critical part of the oceanic carbon cycle. The impacts of virus–host interactions range from short-term disruptions in the mobility of microbial biomass carbon to higher trophic levels through cell lysis (i.e., the viral shunt) to long-term reallocation of microbial biomass carbon to the deep sea through accelerating the biological pump (i.e., the viral shuttle). The biogeochemical backdrop of the ocean—the physical, chemical, and biological landscape—influences the likelihood of both virus–host interactions and particle formation, and the fate and flow of carbon. As climate change reshapes the oceanic landscape through large-scale shifts in temperature, circulation, stratification, and acidification, virus-mediated carbon flux is likely to shift in response. Dynamics in the directionality and magnitude of changes in how, where, and when viruses mediate the recycling or storage of microbial biomass carbon is largely unknown. Integrating viral infection dynamics data obtained from experimental models and field systems, with particle motion microphysics and global observations of oceanic biogeochemistry, into improved ecosystem models will enable viral oceanographers to better predict the role of viruses in marine carbon cycling in the future ocean.
Advances in Virus Research, Volume 114, 2022, pp 67-146,