New research provides the most complete account to date of the viruses that impact the world's oceans, increasing the number of known virus populations tenfold. Researchers analyzed marine samples far and deep in an effort to understand the complexities of viruses, which are increasingly being recognized as important players in the oceans' role in tempering the effects of climate change. This new study brings the total known marine viral populations within the ocean close to 200,000 -- work that will help scientists better understand their influence throughout the world, including their part in delivering carbon deep into the sea, protecting the atmosphere from further damage. The samples were collected during the unprecedented three-year Tara Oceans Expedition in which a team of more than 200 experts took to the sea to catalog and better understand the unseen inhabitants of the ocean, from tiny animals to viruses and bacteria. In addition to the prior research in the temperate and tropical oceans, this new work includes samples from the schooner's circumnavigation of the Arctic Ocean -- the area most significantly impacted by climate change.
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