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Keywords:

  • algal virus;
  • cell cycle;
  • flow cytometry;
  • Phaeocystis pouchetii;
  • Pyramimonas orientalis;
  • viral ecology

In this study we investigated virus production in two marine phytoplankton species and how it relates to the host's cell cycle. Phaeocystis pouchetii (Hariot) Lagerheim and Pyramimonas orientalis McFadden, Hill & Wetherby, growing synchronously in batch cultures, were infected with their respective viruses (PpV and PoV) at four different stages in the cell cycle and the production of free virus was then measured for 30 h. The virus production in P. orientalis infected with PoV depended on the time of infection, whereas no such relation was found for P. pouchetii infected with PpV. The P. orientalis cultures infected at the end of the dark period and at the beginning of the light period produced three times more virus than those infected in the middle of the light period and eight times more virus than those infected at the beginning of the dark period. The latent periods for PpV and PoV were 12–14 h and 18–20 h, respectively, and in both cases were independent of the host cell cycle. The differences in virus production may be attributed to light or cell cycle dependent regulation of host infection, metabolism, or burst size. Regardless of the mechanism, these differences may be related to differences in the ecological strategies of the hosts and their ability to form blooms.