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Summary

Biogeographic patterns have been demonstrated for a wide range of microorganisms. Nevertheless, the biogeography of marine viruses has been slower to emerge. Here we investigate biogeographic patterns of marine cyanophages that infect Synechococcus sp. WH7803 across multiple spatial and temporal scales. We compared cyanophage myoviral communities from nine coastal sites in Southern New England (SNE), USA, one site in Long Island NY, and four sites from Bermuda's inshore waters by assaying cyanophage isolates using the myoviral g43 DNA polymerase gene. Cyanophage community composition varied temporally at each of the sites. Further, 6 years of sampling at one Narragansett Bay site revealed annual seasonal variations in community composition, driven by the seasonal reoccurrence of specific viral taxa. Although the four Bermuda communities were similar to one another, they were significantly different than the North American coastal communities, with almost no overlap of taxa between the two regions. Among the SNE sites, cyanophage community composition also varied significantly and was correlated with the body of water sampled (e.g. Narragansett Bay, Cape Cod Bay, Vineyard Sound), although here, the same viral taxa were found at multiple sites. This study demonstrates that marine cyanophages display striking seasonal and spatial biogeographic patterns.