Name of plankton: Oceanic virioplankton
Where sample was found: Chesapeake Bay, surface water
Project: Microbial Observatory
Photo credit: Rachel Parsons, BIOS
What role do these organisms play in the ecosystem: Oceanic virioplankton encompass enormous genetic diversity, affect biogeochemical cycling of elements, and partially control aspects of prokaryotic production and diversity.
Interesting facts: Virus densities were 32,000,000,000 cells per milliliter of seawater in Chesapeake Bay. This is ten times the number seen in surface seawater at BATS.