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)

doi:10.1038/nrmicro1750

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.

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