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phoH, Sargasso Sea, Viral diversity, Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study

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Deep sequencing of the viral phoH gene, a host-derived auxiliary metabolic gene, was used to track viral diversity throughout the water column at the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) site in the summer (September) and winter (March) of three years. Viral phoH sequences reveal differences in the viral communities throughout a depth profile and between seasons in the same year. Variation was also detected between the same seasons in subsequent years, though these differences were not as great as the summer/winter distinctions. Over 3,600 phoH operational taxonomic units (OTUs; 97% sequence identity) were identified. Despite high richness, most phoH sequences belong to a few large, common OTUs whereas the majority of the OTUs are small and rare. While many OTUs make sporadic appearances at just a few times or depths, a small number of OTUs dominate the community throughout the seasons, depths, and years.

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PeerJ, v. 3, art. e997

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