Articles, Blog

Over 190,000 Newly Discovered Viruses Are Lurking in Our Oceans, Here’s What You Should Know

December 21, 2019

If you didn’t think the ocean could get
anymore weird, wonderful and kinda freaky…have I got news for you. There are viruses in it. A lot more than we previously thought. A new study reveals there are almost 200,000
distinct viral populations in the ocean. A liter of sea water contains anywhere between
1-10 billion virus particles—most of which we don’t know anything about! Our understanding of these elusive microbial
communities has just started to come into focus in the last few decades, and this new research
is a huge step toward better understanding of our oceans. Before this study, the highest number we had
for ocean viral populations was about 15,000…but this new study pretty much blows that already
impressive number out of the water. From 2009 to 2013, researchers analyzed samples
from about 80 different sites all over the world, from sunny surfaces to thousands of
meters down into the depths. They found over 180,000 additional unique
viral populations, bringing the total to almost 200,000. And the diversity of these new populations
is seriously stunning! Ok, ok but why do we care? We may mostly think of viruses in terms of
human disease. They’re the cause of everything from the
common cold to HIV. But viruses can infect all biological organisms,
perhaps most notably…bacteria. Viruses that kill bacteria are called bacteriophages,
or phages for short. Phage therapy is being explored as a solution to antibiotic resistance and environmentally-borne pathogens. So understanding how viruses interact
with bacteria is important to human health, ‘cause they can actually be our friends
in some situations. But viruses also play essential roles outside
of our bodies. They kill marine microbes, too, and they kill
SO MANY that they actually release a really significant amount of carbon back into the
environment, playing a critical role in the food chain, all the way down to the very bottom. On the other hand, viruses also steal energy
from oceanic bacteria and therefore lessen the amount of carbon dioxide those bacteria
can take out of the atmosphere, which is obviously not ideal, so it’s a delicate balance, and
a complex relationship. Studying these new viruses could give us more
insight into how the oceans cycle organic matter…which is really important. Oceans are thought to be our biggest carbon
sink—absorbing between 30-50% of human-made carbon emissions. Exploring these new viruses means that we
could potentially manipulate viral populations to our advantage. Maybe we could increase the viral community’s
ability to move carbon dioxide from the shallow, surface parts of the ocean into the deep ocean,
sequestering it into biomatter so it doesn’t clog up our atmosphere or acidify the oceans. The new data suggests five distinct groups
of viral populations distinguished by their unique adaptations to both location and depth. Plus, something really surprising! With most organisms, diversity is clustered
around the equator. But the researchers in this study found that
about 40% of the new viral populations are in the Arctic Ocean—a part of our oceans
that’s particularly under threat from changing climate. And finally, viruses are still very mysterious. There’s lots we don’t understand about
them and the way they work, like…where did they come from? We’re not even really sure if viruses are technically alive. Viruses exhibit some qualities of ‘aliveness’,
but many are unable to survive long without a host, and all need a host to replicate soooo… neyhhh. Some scientists settle for calling viruses
‘biotic agents, or something that acts on life’—and they are the smallest and most
abundant biotic agents in the world. And even though this particular project uncovered
over 180,000 viral populations that are new to us, there are still regions of the ocean
that need to be sampled further, and there are many more probably waiting to be discovered. This vast, untapped diversity that we’re
just starting to dive into could help us gain better understanding of what exactly a virus is, how they work, and how we could use them to our advantage. If you want more on oceanic discoveries, check
out this video here. If you have any other microbial news you want us to cover, let us know down in the comments, and make sure you subscribe
to Seeker for all you viral content. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next time.


  • Reply David Dickey October 18, 2019 at 2:32 am

    Its really simple to gain immunity to viruses: just get rid of all your ribosomes. Problem solved! :-p

  • Reply Dusan October 18, 2019 at 2:39 am

    No, don't try to change how much we impact the environment. Let us manipulate it…

  • Reply Brian Karch October 18, 2019 at 3:01 am


  • Reply Henry Wu October 18, 2019 at 3:12 am

    These “new” viruses come from melting ice.

  • Reply Sara J October 18, 2019 at 4:07 am

    Does anyone think it’s because all that trash we have been throwing in the ocean ?

  • Reply TURTLEMMC23 October 18, 2019 at 4:09 am

    Purell the planet !

  • Reply David Aguirre October 18, 2019 at 4:13 am

    Haha. Love all your puns. 😛

  • Reply moumous October 18, 2019 at 4:16 am

    Her voice is so soothing. There wasn't much to say but I kept listening

  • Reply Breaking news today October 18, 2019 at 4:41 am

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    because i m on error from earth very lower family belong

    please any one contact me

    i know this fundamental theory? who follow universe in my in site do you believe me

    i m not joking on about my life please any one support me

    how i give opportunity other rights hand,
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    Contact me
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    My left eye on Current flowing on 4th dimensions

  • Reply Josh PaperDragon October 18, 2019 at 4:44 am

    This is scary and awesome at the same time. Thankfully they went evolved to interact with humans .. yet.
    By the way, I was mesmerized by that neckless the entire time. It's like a cool voice equalizer display as she talked.

  • Reply Weed October 18, 2019 at 4:52 am

    I bet you we created half the virus with all that trash we put in the ocean ? all that bacteria building up

  • Reply Dadson worldwide October 18, 2019 at 5:05 am

    We have made no big lab breakthroughs in origin life since the 1950s and this really highlights how little we know . We have learned a lot about the process and how it works but this just makes for more complex questions.

  • Reply Jason Ray October 18, 2019 at 5:34 am

    That's why I stay away from beaches!

  • Reply Robert October 18, 2019 at 6:07 am

    Discovered by who, the cia?

  • Reply Open Your eyes October 18, 2019 at 6:44 am

    Goverments will make wepons with these little guys

  • Reply M. M. October 18, 2019 at 7:21 am

    Everyone needs to stop sneezing in the ocean.

  • Reply Luke DeMeo October 18, 2019 at 7:36 am

    I had a nightmare where everyone was being hunted by human sized bacteriophages. It was terrifying ?

  • Reply Nascent Space October 18, 2019 at 7:44 am

    I don't want to go swimming anymore

  • Reply Chris Petersen October 18, 2019 at 7:45 am

    Funny that viruses maybe aren't considered life because it needs a host to replicate.. That's pretty universal as it applies to almost all forms of life, including humans.

  • Reply Marin October 18, 2019 at 7:45 am

    2:30 "manipulate viro populations to our advantage".. We are not good in playing god with Nature… Literally every time we try to manipulate something, we fix 1 thing and get other 10 worsen..

  • Reply j4d3 goat October 18, 2019 at 7:45 am

    Phages are *very* cool! I wouldn't be surprised if in 100 years' time, a *lot* of our current medical treatments are replaced by the use of phages.

  • Reply Sprigan-30 Blacklion October 18, 2019 at 7:48 am

    What is if viruses ? evolved too the life Forms what we see ! Just is take a long time !

    Maby they the Next waiting Generation

  • Reply Philip Anthony Kenny October 18, 2019 at 7:59 am


  • Reply ALLGODS AREFAKE October 18, 2019 at 8:00 am

    Military currently weaponizing viruses

  • Reply Bobby Ups October 18, 2019 at 8:19 am

    Earth will reboot

  • Reply id104335409 October 18, 2019 at 8:45 am

    I live by the sea! Million tourists are dipping in that water every summer. Not going in! Nope!

  • Reply Chad Goliath October 18, 2019 at 9:10 am

    And I'm here thinking since there is so many different unique viruses maybe one of those viruses can give me superpowers

  • Reply 72marshflower15 October 18, 2019 at 9:37 am

    A healthy ocean means you can enter it with an open wound and it would cleanse it out..

    This video is shit if you consider that it’s a life of “flys” that carries infections…

    I don’t know how else to counter this fear mongering..

    I am alive.. aren’t I?

  • Reply HardWarUK October 18, 2019 at 10:03 am

    As world temperatures rise, there will be more evaporation of water containing these viruses that will then rain on population areas on land

  • Reply Original ideas For buying October 18, 2019 at 10:40 am

    You look nice dear ???
    we can Discover virus for battle again HIV cancer and other like disease there is future war again can cure disease

  • Reply Michael Muturi October 18, 2019 at 10:59 am

    This video should go viral

  • Reply Aloewells October 18, 2019 at 11:12 am

    Whaat the viruses can survive in salty ocean water and freezing temperatures. Stop Dumping in to oceans or they cross to the land.

  • Reply Shadow Crafterz136 October 18, 2019 at 11:53 am

    No wonder my Laptop died when I tried to play MC Excel underwater

  • Reply Giveaway October 18, 2019 at 11:55 am

    One of them will b named as seekerVirus

  • Reply Soul Crusher7314 October 18, 2019 at 12:33 pm


  • Reply Ged Woods October 18, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    And as the seas warm they will become more and more air born.

  • Reply Drew Bartz October 18, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    2009-2013…. Old news. Come on seeker

  • Reply tango October 18, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    Idk if I like the ocean anymore lol

  • Reply tango October 18, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    My anxiety after this :/

  • Reply Brandon Gatlin October 18, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    I like your glasses!

  • Reply aqua snek October 18, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    Well, people have been sailing the oceans for ages and we've been good. I'm not freaked out, I'm fascinated! I'd like to know what they are, what they do, and future use to improve us!

  • Reply John Markz October 18, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    Now they will.scare you of oceans…because they want you to get cancer.. believe me.. ocean is detox.. God designed it.. afraid..

  • Reply Time lapse October 18, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    TWO HUNDRED THOUSANDS , just two lacs ?

  • Reply areamusicale October 18, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    2:27 what does replication has got to do with "staying alive"?
    i do not care to "replicate|" … does it mean am I dead?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  • Reply Protomaker Black Sprint Original 3D Printer October 18, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Don't worry The Fukushima Nuclear Waste pumped into the sea will kill viruses and people

  • Reply Mahesh Bhenchod October 18, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    I’m calling you today because your apple account has wiruses.

  • Reply Mari R October 18, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    This makes me think that whatever they’ve found is just stuff melting from the north pole ?

  • Reply Caleb Roman October 18, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    I'm still out here waiting for zombies. Seems like the zombie deer thing died what's next?

  • Reply Martin Prince October 18, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    hey this same content has been explained on another channel named kurzgesagt this is the link :

    and on an another channel motherboard link :

  • Reply Jarod Reddig October 18, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    Wonder how many viruses ? I’ve swallowed ???

  • Reply Daniel Pope October 19, 2019 at 12:17 am

    Why is it necessary for seeker to inject climate alarmism half a dozen times on a 3 minute video about viruses… Jesus

  • Reply RyoPaque Q October 19, 2019 at 1:48 am

    If viruses were an early life form, then that's the right direction. Biosphere's are engineered by viruses.
    First step: engineer a better biosphere on Earth.
    Next step: engineer a biosphere on another planet or moon, preferably one that has a magnetosphere and liquid water.

  • Reply Letal October 19, 2019 at 2:18 am

    A vida é maravilhosamente cruel!

  • Reply erick chandra October 19, 2019 at 5:24 am

    Well, global warming will attract more and more misery to come to our life ?

  • Reply Akash Chaturvedi October 19, 2019 at 7:00 am

    Let's see who can relate 0:12 ???

  • Reply Señor Ham October 19, 2019 at 7:01 am

    But would not most, or almost all bacteria need sunlight to process c02? And if the oceans are filled with something that blocks sunlight to the species that get enegery from light going to die off if this would be the case, and then the food chain get increasingly worse as you dive down deeper and deeper and thus affect the food chain and is gets more and more towards the surface? I'm honestly asking. I'm no biologist or chemist, or anything along those lines, just st a curious bloke.

  • Reply Reach41 October 19, 2019 at 8:42 am

    Please don't tell AOC.

  • Reply CrispierNewt October 19, 2019 at 9:34 am

    I thought this was common sense. The oceans the soup of biology

  • Reply Adam Weaver October 19, 2019 at 10:24 am

    Humans messing with the environment…this is going to end well?

  • Reply Morse Code Reviews October 19, 2019 at 11:08 am

    I feel bad for the guy who had to count all them viruses. Some say he's still counting till this day.

  • Reply Gamer's Choice HARDCORE October 19, 2019 at 11:16 am

    What? you want to destroy the balnced in the ocean?

  • Reply Eduardo Gutierrez October 19, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    What? What kind of person could think there's no new things to discover in the sea? Specially in the depths.

  • Reply RobertJames728 October 19, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Don’t think we should play with this?

  • Reply Denni_isl October 19, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Do recommend and

  • Reply plasmaburndeath October 19, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    Might not be alive since "They need a host to reproduce" so are humans not alive? Kinda hard to reproduce without a host (partner) lol j/k

  • Reply Will Pack October 19, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Ice is covering a prehistoric lake in Antarctica. I wonder what kind of prehistoric viruses are there.?

  • Reply Zach Fox 狐智 October 19, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    viruses are extracellular organelles!

  • Reply Auburn7543 October 19, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    This just popped up in my inbox………… 2 day's late

  • Reply Joanna Blueberry October 19, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Sooooo it’s still safe time swim right?? :3

  • Reply MemeNation - Compilations October 19, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    but this is good. We can use these viruses and learn from them by gene modification

  • Reply Royce Heflin October 19, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    I know this is sort of old news, but could you do a video on tissue nanotransfection? I think it’s super cool, personally.
    (Also if there is already a video about it that I somehow missed, please let me know so I can check it out.)

  • Reply Destroyer Bros October 19, 2019 at 11:30 pm

    They are gonna find a virus that destroys cancer cells

  • Reply OfficialSyca Entertainment October 19, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    Girls in my hometown have 1,000,000 viruses

  • Reply Kaneki Katharsis October 20, 2019 at 12:21 am

    1:40 humans are a kind of virus also so yeah

  • Reply Alma olimpica October 20, 2019 at 1:26 am

  • Reply sam dell October 20, 2019 at 6:35 am

    2:33… thats when i said: oh shoot….
    we have never manipulated nature and got results other than plagues and godzillas.
    for human sake, leave them alone, its a use as is contract with nature…

  • Reply Islam Lies October 20, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    SSSOOOO tired of hearing about carbon and climate change. Weak science. Look to solar forcing.

  • Reply Tyler Hopkinson October 21, 2019 at 4:03 am

    no its because if u put a computer is in water it rusts

  • Reply nrspinelli October 21, 2019 at 4:51 am

    Id be more surprised if this wasnt the case tbh

  • Reply Test1 Test1l October 21, 2019 at 5:32 am

    I love this girl. She is so cute

  • Reply AndSendMe October 21, 2019 at 6:01 am

    Viruses are not microbes.

  • Reply CantCifUdontopenuri's October 21, 2019 at 6:30 am

    Wow?!?! How blind we are! We are so oblivious of our sins. We are the virus. It is our 7 sins that has made us the most evasive and incurable virus the world has ever known! We consume, contaminate and exterminate everything on this planet. How can you eliminate a virus that can out think and out maneuver harmony and balance? Mother Nature has been throwing everything (plagues, undiscovered diseases, famines, droughts, global warming) she's got at us ever since she realized how dangerous and deadly our presence is to every living thing on this planet. We are the virus that has been so hard to contain or eradicate; a virus that has convinced itself that it is a global necessity not a global abomination.

  • Reply Bruce IDW October 21, 2019 at 8:34 am

    This planet is so infested with life it’s revolting. Sickens me. Disgusting DNA, proteins, life-shit everywhere miles down all the way to the top of the atmosphere. Every square millimeter … completely infested. Gross. I wish a few big gamma ray bursts would sterilize it all.

  • Reply Don Kremer October 21, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    I expected a bunch of people asking you to marry them in the comments =p

  • Reply sedriensmorgasbord October 21, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    2020: Recently discovered virus, which had been locked away deep in the arctic ocean, highly infectious to humans.
    2021: Deep ocean super virus continues to spread, killing millions. Forceful quarantine. Research for vaccine continues.
    2024: Last hope for cure has failed. Humanity on the brink of extinction. Weaponized eradication of infected populations.
    2025: Apocalypse.

  • Reply lasarith2 October 22, 2019 at 9:41 am

    190K more viruses…. I sea.

  • Reply Nicholas Ashley October 22, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    Sexy librarian

  • Reply Jamie Husky October 22, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    This narrator is pretty attractive.
    Theres gotta be more than that though…probably billions of virus bacteria!!

  • Reply Zantagiro7 October 23, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    brilliant idea girl!

  • Reply Ian Tapes October 25, 2019 at 3:05 am

    Enemy's enemy is ur friend.

  • Reply Junior Slater October 28, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    How would you turn them off ?

  • Reply Ron Brideau October 28, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Consider the satellite records of ocean life carbon sinking a few decades ago and those numbers may pop a bit.

  • Reply slojoegt Stang October 30, 2019 at 12:16 am

    Give them all to Nazi Pelosi.

  • Reply Harao Costa October 31, 2019 at 10:47 am

    II think you are so intelligent and beautiful I will love it to watching you.

  • Reply General Makaba November 2, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Wait viruses actually have icosahedral heads? I thought that was just an illustration thing. TIL ???

  • Reply ioo kknn November 3, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    We wish you to develop a cosmic background radiation detector
    To discover the gravitational waves predicted by the theory of cosmic inflation and superstring theory
    Please send suggestions to the engineering and technology team
    The light capture devices closest to the edge of the universe must be developed

  • Reply zyxwvutsrqponmlkh November 8, 2019 at 2:36 am

    Pull that nose ring out Ms. Piggie.

  • Reply W S November 21, 2019 at 3:42 am

    co2 is good

  • Reply Joe OConnor November 25, 2019 at 2:35 am

    Maybe we should stop playing God and let nature evolve without our destructive influences

  • Reply Haruglory131 December 16, 2019 at 8:46 am

    Not going to the beach anymore

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