FIGURE 1 | Relative biomass and abundances of prokaryotes, protists and viruses.

From the following article:

Marine viruses — major players in the global ecosystem

Curtis A. Suttle

Nature Reviews Microbiology 5, 801-812 (October 2007)


Marine viruses |[mdash]| major players in the global ecosystem

Viruses are by far the most abundant biological entities in the oceans, comprising approximately 94% of the nucleic-acid-containing particles. However, because of their small size they comprise only approximately 5% of the biomass. By contrast, even though prokaryotes represent less than 10% of the nucleic-acid-containing particles they represent more than 90% of the biomass. Protists can represent as much as half the biomass in surface waters169, but in the meso- and bathypelagic depths of the ocean they only comprise a few percent or less of the biomass170. Consequently, overall, their biomass probably represents even less than that of the viruses.

Download file

If the slide opens in your browser, select "File > Save As" to save it.