The 21st century is the virology century

  • Drucker V.V. 1
  • 1 Limnological Institute, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ulan-Batorskaya Str., 3, Irkutsk, 664033, Russia
Keywords: bacteriophages, taxonomic diversity, spatial and temporal distribution of the population, neuston, plankton, biofilms, Lake Baikal


At the present time of global warming and significant pollution of water bodies and watercourses of the Earth, studies of the role of each component in the structure of the aquatic ecosystems are of fundamental and practical importance. The microbial population play a significant role in solving these urgent problems, because microorganisms perform the main function of self-cleaning of water bodies. At the end of the past century, a high number of viruses was detected in the water of the seas and oceans, which significantly exceeds the number of other organisms of the plankton community (Bergh et al., 1989). It was revealed that bacterial viruses (bacteriophages) play a key role in marine ecosystems, regulating the number and structure of bacterial communities, as they are actively involved in biogeochemical processes. To date, the research in this field allows us to consider aquatic viruses an important component of microbial loop, contributing significantly to the functioning of its hosts: bacteria, algae and protozoa. For freshwater ecosystems, such issues of the structural and functional organization of viral communities have been still poorly understood. Since 1997, we have begun to study bacteriophages in oligotrophic abyssal Lake Baikal.