Over the past few decades, the Arctic region has been strongly affected by global warming, leading to increased sea surface temperatures and melting of land and sea ice. Marine terminating (tide-water) glaciers are expected to show higher melting and calving rates, with an increase in the input of fine sediment particles in the coastal marine environment. We experimentally investigated whether marine viruses, which drive microbial interactions and biogeochemical cycling are removed from the water column through adsorption to glacier-delivered fine sediments. Ecologically relevant concentrations of 30, 100 and 200 mg·L−1
sediments were added to filtered lysates of 3 cultured algal viruses and to a natural marine bacterial virus community. Total virus removal increased with sediment concentration whereby the removal rate depended on the virus used (up to 88% for an Arctic algal virus), suggesting a different interaction strength with the sediment. Moreover, we observed that the adsorption of viruses to sediment is a reversible process, and that desorbed viruses are still able to infect their respective hosts. Nonetheless, the addition of sediment to infection experiments with the Arctic prasinovirus MpoV-45T substantially delayed host lysis and the production of progeny viruses. We demonstrate that glacier-derived fine sediments have the potency to alter virus availability and consequently, host population dynamics.
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