Molecular Ecology

SS4.01: Marine Viromics-The Interaction of Viral Genomes with the Environment
Organizers: John H. Paul, University of South Florida ( and Forest Rohwer, San Diego State University (

Viruses are now known to be the most abundant form of life in the oceans. To date, fewer than ten viral genomes of marine viruses have been sequenced, and only about 130 complete viral sequences exist in GenBank (from all environments). However, the sequencing of genomes of all other forms of life (bacteria to man) indicates that viral genomes are present in the DNA of all these organisms. Viruses not only cause the lysis of their hosts, but can modify the phenotype of their host while existing as a silent viral infection. Viruses can modulate genetic exchange between hosts, and can convert benign bacterial species into virulent pathogens. This symposium will present the results of genomic sequencing efforts of known marine viruses, of uncultivated, mixed populations of viruses “metavirome,” and our understanding of viral evolution.

SS4.02: Ecology and Physiology of Marine Organisms: Insights from Genes, Genomes and Proteomes
Organizer: Bethany D. Jenkins, University of California Santa Cruz (

The biocomplexity of aquatic ecosystems results from the interaction between environmental physiochemical variability and levels of biological organization from individual genes to communities. Ecosystems select for a myriad of biochemical and physiological capacities that are reflected not only in the species composition and genetic diversity within the ecosystem, but also the expression of genes that control biogeochemical cycles. New approaches to study cellular responses from molecules to macromolecules derived from advances in genetics, genomics and proteomics provide the means to dissect the interactions between organisms and the environment, including the expression of genes involved in carbon, nutrient and trace metal cycling, ecological competition, succession and food web dynamics. This information is needed to understand the primary mechanisms underlying the biocomplexity of ecosystems.



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