Warming advances virus population dynamics in a temperate freshwater plankton community

Thijs Frenken, Corina P.D. Brussaard, Mandy Velthuis, Ralf Aben, Garabet Kazanjian, Sabine Hilt, Sarian Kosten, Edwin T.H.M. Peeters, Lisette N. Senerpont Domis, Susanne Stephan, Ellen Donk, Dedmer B. van de Waal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Viruses are important drivers in the cycling of carbon and nutrients in aquatic ecosystems. Since viruses are obligate parasites, their production completely depends on growth and metabolism of hosts and therefore can be affected by climate change. Here, we investigated if warming (+4°C) can change the outcome of viral infections in a natural freshwater virus community over a 5‐month period in a mesocosm experiment. We monitored dynamics of viruses and potential hosts. Results show that warming significantly advanced the early summer peak of the virus community by 24 d, but neither affected viral peak abundances nor time‐integrated number of viruses present. Our results demonstrate that warming advances the timing of viruses in a natural community. Although warming may not necessarily result in a stronger viral control of bacterial and phytoplankton communities, our results suggest it can alter host population dynamics through advanced timing of infections, and thus timing of carbon and nutrient recycling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-304
JournalLimnology and Oceanography Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020

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