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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19284

Title: Viral Mineralization and Geochemical Interactions
Authors: Kyle, Jennifer
Advisor: Ferris, F. Grant
Department: Geology
Keywords: microbial geochemistry
viral ecology
bacteriophage
biomineralization
extreme environments
geomicrobiology
Issue Date: 3-Mar-2010
Abstract: Viruses are ubiquitous biological entities whose importance and role in aquatic habits is beginning to take form. However, several habitats have undergone limited to no examination with viral-geochemical parameters minimally examined and viral-mineral relationships in the natural environment and the role of mineralization on viral-host dynamic completely lacking. To further develop knowledge on the presence and abundances of viruses, how viruses impact aquatic systems, and how viral-host interactions can be impacted under mineralizing conditions, viruses were examined under a variety of habitats and experimental conditions. Water samples were collected from the deep subsurface (up to 450 m underground) and acid mine drainage (AMD) systems in order to determine the presence, abundance, and viral-geochemical relationships within the systems. Samples were also collected from a variety of freshwater habitats, which have undergone limited examination, to determine viral-geochemical and viral-mineral relationships. Lastly, bacteriophage-host dynamics were examined under authigenic mineral precipitation to determine how mineralization impacts this relationship. Results reveal that not only are viruses present in the deep subsurface and AMD systems, but they are abundant (up to 107 virus-like particles/mL) and morphogically diverse. Viruses are also the strongest predictor of prokaryotic abundance in southern Ontario freshwater systems where potential nutrients are rich. Geochemical variables, such as pH and Eh, were shown to have negative impacts of viral abundance indicting that AMD environments are detrimental for free viruses (i.e. not particle associated). Direct evidence of viral-mineral interactions was found using transmission electron microscopy as viral particles were shown attached to iron-bearing mineral phases (determined through elemental analysis). In addition, evidence of viral participation in mineralization events was found in both AMD and freshwater environments where inverse correlations were noted between viral abundance and jarosite saturation indices (r = -0.71 and r = -0.33, respectively), and goethite saturation indices were also noted to be the strongest predictor of VLP abundance in freshwater habitats explaining 78% of the variability in the data. Lastly, iron precipitation and/or metal ion binding to bacterial surfaces greatly reduced phage replication (~98%) revealing bacterial mineralization has a protective benefit strongly hindering viral replication.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19284
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Geology - Doctoral theses

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