Kyoto University, Japan
We have a broad interest in characterizing the ecological and evolutionary significance of eukaryotic viruses in the oceans with a special focus on large viruses. On our planet, there are viruses that are as complex as cellular organisms. The amoeba-infecting Mimivirus with a genome encoding 1000 genes is the prototype of such giant viruses. Recent studies from our group suggest that related giant viruses play crucial roles in oceanic ecosystems.
Through in silico data mining, we are studying the species and genomic diversity of giant viruses to discover new genes of fundamental interest, to investigate host-virus interactions and to get better insights into the role of viruses in the functioning and evolution of the biosphere. Together with other teams of the consortium, we develop new computational tools and statistical methods to enhance the analysis of the uniquely comprehensive Tara Oceans plankton data sets.