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.