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Seasonal regime shift in the viral communities of a permafrost thaw lake

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Permafrost thaw lakes including thermokarst lakes and ponds are ubiquitous features of Subarctic and Arctic landscapes and are hotspots of microbial activity. Input of terrestrial organic matter into the planktonic microbial loop of these lakes may greatly amplify global greenhouse gas emissions. This microbial loop, dominated in the summer by aerobic microorganisms including phototrophs, is radically different in the winter, when metabolic processes shift to the anaerobic degradation of organic matter. Little is known about the viruses that infect these microbes, despite evidence that viruses can control microbial populations and influence biogeochemical cycling in other systems. Here, we present the results of a metagenomics-based study of viruses in the larger than 0.22 µm fraction across two seasons (summer and winter) in a permafrost thaw lake in Subarctic Canada. We uncovered 351 viral populations (vOTUs) in the surface waters of this lake, with diversity significantly greater during the summer. We also identified and characterized several phage genomes and prophages, which were mostly present in the summer. Finally, we compared the viral community of this waterbody to other habitats and found unexpected similarities with distant bog lakes in North America.

Viruses , 12(11), 1-14 (2020)
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Permafrost , Thermokarst pond , Phage diversity , Seasonality , Uncultured viral genomes
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article de recherche