2016 Volume 31 Issue 2 Pages 173-177
Virophages are parasites of giant viruses that infect eukaryotic organisms and may affect the ecology of inland water ecosystems. Despite the potential ecological impact, limited information is available on the distribution, diversity, and hosts of virophages in ecosystems. Metagenomics revealed that virophages were widely distributed in inland waters with various environmental characteristics including salinity and nutrient availability. A novel virophage population was overrepresented in a planktonic microbial community of the Tibetan mountain lake, Lake Qinghai. Our study identified coccolithophores and coccolithovirus-like phycodnaviruses in the same community, which may serve as eukaryotic and viral hosts of the virophage population, respectively.