a research sailboat with white sails inscribed with "tara ocean" traverses a body of water with small, rocky islands in the background
Q&A: Thousands of RNA Viruses Newly Discovered in Ocean Water
The Scientist spoke with Ohio State University microbiologist Matthew Sullivan about a recent expedition that identified thousands of RNA viruses from water samples and cataloged them into novel phylogenic groups.
ABOVE: © SACHA BOLLET FONDATION / TARA OCEAN
Q&A: Thousands of RNA Viruses Newly Discovered in Ocean Water
Q&A: Thousands of RNA Viruses Newly Discovered in Ocean Water

The Scientist spoke with Ohio State University microbiologist Matthew Sullivan about a recent expedition that identified thousands of RNA viruses from water samples and cataloged them into novel phylogenic groups.

The Scientist spoke with Ohio State University microbiologist Matthew Sullivan about a recent expedition that identified thousands of RNA viruses from water samples and cataloged them into novel phylogenic groups.

ABOVE: © SACHA BOLLET FONDATION / TARA OCEAN

ocean microbes

microscope image of methaotrophs with black specks
Deep Sea Microbes Produce Graphite-like Carbon
Chloe Tenn | Nov 11, 2021
The first evidence of biologically produced elemental carbon inspires more questions than answers.  
Many Deep-Sea Microbes Invisible to Mammalian Immune System
Abby Olena | Mar 12, 2021
In a new study, human and mouse cells recognized only one in five bacterial species collected from more than a mile below the Pacific Ocean’s surface.
Oceanic Bacteria Trap Vast Amounts of Light Without Chlorophyll
Abby Olena | Aug 8, 2019
Microbes that dwell in nutrient-poor waters use a photopigment called retinal to harvest energy from sunshine at levels at least equal to those stored by chlorophyll-based systems.
an illustration of plankton
Mixing It Up in the Web of Life
Rodrigo Pérez Ortega | Feb 5, 2019
Many types of marine plankton are either animal-like or plant-like. But a huge number are both, and they are upending ideas about ocean ecology.
Geologists, paleontology, excavation
Oldest Evidence of Terrestrial Life on a Young Earth
Anna Azvolinsky | Jul 23, 2018
Microbes were living on land as early as 3.22 billion years ago, fossilized rocks show, 500 million years earlier than previously documented.
Climate Change Research Gets Closer to Nature
Ruth Williams | Jul 1, 2018
Researchers devise more-realistic means of forecasting the effects of climate change on complex marine ecosystems.
Sinking Carbon
Jim Daley | Jul 1, 2018
With samples taken from the crust of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, researchers have discovered where some of the oceans’ dissolved organic carbon winds up.
Infographic: Ocean Mesocosms
Ruth Williams | Jun 30, 2018
How one research team studies the effects of ocean conditions on marine life
Mitochondria’s Bacterial Origins Upended
Shawna Williams | Apr 25, 2018
Contrary to some hypotheses, the organelles did not descend from any known lineage of Alphaproteobacteria, researchers find.
Vibrio Infections On the Rise
Alison F. Takemura | Aug 9, 2016
Increases in oceanic populations of these bacteria—both pathogenic and not—is an effect of climate change, scientists show.
National Microbiome Initiative Launched
Tanya Lewis | May 13, 2016
The White House announces a new effort to study diverse microbial communities around the planet.
Adapting to Elevated CO2
Rina Shaikh-Lesko | Sep 1, 2015
High carbon dioxide levels can irreversibly rev up a cyanobacterium’s ability to fix nitrogen over the long term, a study finds.
Ocean Microbes Alter Skies?
Amanda B. Keener | Jul 21, 2015
Satellite data suggest aerosols from bacteria and phytoplankton seed dense, highly reflective clouds.
Study: Arctic Warming Will Snowball
Jef Akst | Apr 28, 2015
Phytoplankton in the Arctic Ocean could amplify warming near the North Pole.
The Energy of Life
Jeffrey Marlow and Jan Amend | Feb 1, 2015
Extremophiles should not be viewed through an anthropocentric lens; what’s extreme for us may be a perfectly comfortable environment for a microbe.
Life-Finding Expeditions
Jef Akst | Dec 18, 2014
Researchers analyzing samples from the deepest-ever marine drilling expedition identify living microbes, while a team exploring the Arctic finds life thriving below the ice.
Methane Overload for Marine Microbes
Tracy Vence | May 12, 2014
Latest analysis of microbial activities in the Gulf of Mexico suggests that gas-rich deepwater plumes following the Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout may have overwhelmed methane-oxidizing bacterial species.
An Ocean of Viruses
Joshua S. Weitz and Steven W. Wilhelm | Jul 1, 2013
Viruses abound in the world’s oceans, yet researchers are only beginning to understand how they affect life and chemistry from the water’s surface to the sea floor.
Sea Bugs
Joshua S. Weitz and Steven W. Wilhelm | Jun 30, 2013
Ocean viruses can impact marine ecosystems in several ways.