The role of bacteria and viruses in carbon and iron chemistry



The Southern Ocean is key for the global carbon cycle and hence the regulation of our climate. However, in this region the fate of carbon in surface waters is largely influenced by iron, which acts as a limiting nutrient. Here we propose to revisit the role of bacteria and viruses on elemental transformations, recycling and export by documenting bacterial and viral biodiversity and exploring virus ecology. Our effort will contribute to the first report of viral biodiversity from contrasted regions around the South Pole. We will also bring live bacteria and viruses back to our home laboratory to explore the interactions between bacteria, dissolved organic matter and viruses and their impact for carbon and iron biogeochemistry. This new and unique collection of bacterial and viral strains will be freely shared with the scientific community to further stimulate Antarctic research, likely generating outputs beyond environmental and marine science per se.

Principal Investigator (PI)

Christel S. Hassler

Earth and Environmental Science, Institute F.-A. Forel, Marine and Lake Biogeochemistry Group

University of Geneva, Switzerland


Biodiversity and isolation of bacteria and viruses in contrasted regions from the Southern Ocean

Principal institution / country

  • INRA Thonon (France)
  • University of Western Brittany (USA)
  • Ohio State University (USA)
  • CNRS, CERMAV (France )
  • University of Geneva (Switzerland)