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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2009 Oct;12(5):582-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2009.08.008. Epub 2009 Oct 5.

Current insights into phage biodiversity and biogeography.

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Florida International University, Department of Biological Sciences, Biscayne Bay Campus, Marine Science 355, 3000 NE 151st Street, North Miami, FL 33181, USA.


Phages exert tremendous ecological and evolutionary forces directly on their bacterial hosts. Phage induced cell lysis also indirectly contributes to organic and inorganic nutrient recycling. Phage abundance, diversity, and distribution are therefore important parameters in ecosystem function. The assumption that phage consortia are ubiquitous and homogenous across habitats (everything is everywhere) is currently being re-evaluated. New studies on phage biogeography have found that some phages are globally distributed while others are unique and perhaps endemic to specific environments. Furthermore, advances in technology have allowed scientists to conduct experiments aimed at analyzing phage consortia over temporal scales, and surprisingly have found reoccurring patterns. This review discusses currents in the field of phage ecology with particular focus on efforts to characterize phage diversity and biogeography across various spatial and temporal scales.

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