Relationship between viral and prokaryotic abundance on the Bajo O’Higgins 1 Seamount (Humboldt Current System off Chile)


  • Oscar E. Chiang Centro FONDAP-COPAS, Concepción
  • Renato A. Quiñones Departamento de Oceanografía, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción



virus-like particles, prokaryotes, seamount, oxygen minimum zone, benthic boundary layer, Humboldt Current System


There is little known about the ecology of microbial communities living in the water column over seamounts. Here, for the first time, the spatial distribution and abundance of virus-like particles (VLP) are described over a seamount. The association between VLP distribution, prokaryotic abundance, and environmental variables is also analyzed. Sampling was conducted in December 2004 on the Bajo O’Higgins 1 seamount (32°54’S, 73°53’W) located in the Humboldt Current System off Chile. A oxygen minimum layer (OMZ) was clearly present between 130 and 280 m in the water column over the seamount. Water samples were taken with Niskin bottles at 10 oceanographic stations over the seamount at depths of 5, 20, 50, 75, 100, and 150 m and at the benthic boundary layer (BBL; 5-12 m over the sediments). Temperature, salinity, oxygen, chlorophyll , and phaeopigments were measured at each station. Viral and prokaryotic abundances were determined with fluorochrome SYBR Green I. Viral abundance ranged from 1.53 x 109 VLP L-1 - 16.48 x 109 VLP L-1, whereas prokaryotic abundance ranged from 1.78 x 10 8 cell L-1 - 14.91 x 108 cell L-1. The virus-like particle/prokaryote ratio varied widely among the analyzed layers (i.e. surface, OMZ, and BBL), probably due to the presence of different prokaryotic and viral assemblages in each layer. Our results indicate that the environmental conditions, mainly the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the water column over Bajo O’Higgins 1 seamount, shape the association between viral and prokaryotic abundance.


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How to Cite

Chiang OE, Quiñones RA. Relationship between viral and prokaryotic abundance on the Bajo O’Higgins 1 Seamount (Humboldt Current System off Chile). Sci. mar. [Internet]. 2007Mar.30 [cited 2024Apr.13];71(1):37-46. Available from:




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