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Viruses everywhere!

Updated: Sep 9, 2022

Picture by Eliana Ruiz.

When we started this project, there were some concerns about finding Phaeoviruses among our kelp samples. We were sure we were going to find some; c'mon, viruses are everywhere! But what we didn't expect was to find that many...

The sampling period is almost over. We have received samples from Saccharina latissima and Laminaria hyperborea from our industry partners Ocean Forest and IFF, respectively. We have also got samples from both algal species around Bergen and sampled around Haugesund and Karmøy for S.latissima. On top of that, we got some extracted S.latissima DNA from a previous study at UiB, from 2016-2018. We have checked against Phaeoviruses a total number of 730 samples, through PCR. As you can see in the table below, these 730 samples are divided into a total number of 246 L.hyperborea samples taken during the last two years, and a total number of 484 S.latissima samples; from which 327 are from recent samplings, and 157 come from that old study from 2016-2018. The signs + and - represent virus positive and virus negative samples, respectively:

As we can see, around 90% of our samples contained Phaeoviruses, no matter the kelp species. The only difference we can see at the moment, is that the samples from 2016-2018 were more balanced in the number of positives and negatives, but this is something we have to look up carefully.

We will have our last sampling in Bergen next October, and with those samples we will have completed all the sampling for this project. Then, this numbers may change, and we could proceed to the analysis. For this analysis, we will sequence a relevant number of positive samples from each kelp species, location and year that they were taken, in order to see if there are significant relationships among those parameters. By sequencing viral positive samples, we could also see with more detail if there are differences between the viral sequences, getting a better picture about the Phaeoviral diversity in Norway.

We hope we can get our first sequencing results by the end of the month. Really looking forward sharing those with you! :)


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