Viruses are the most abundant biological entities, and they play critical roles in entire ecosystems. Nevertheless, current knowledge about them is no more than 1% of the estimated diversity of the Earth’s virosphere. Oysters are filter-feeding molluscan bivalves and are ideal sentinels for marine virus exploration and viral ecology studies.
Here we report a Dataset of Oyster Virome (DOV) that contains 728,784 nonredundant viral operational taxonomic unit (vOTU) contigs and 3,473 high-quality viral genomes, enabling the first comprehensive overview of viral communities in oysters. As in other marine viromes, families Siphoviridae, Podoviridae, and Myoviridae are dominant in the DOV. However, Circoviridae is the most abundant family among the high-quality genomes, indicating that oysters may be their potential hotspots. Despite performing target amplification for RNA genomes, the diversity of RNA viruses was much lower than the diversity of DNA viruses. Notably, most of the vOTUs in the DOV were previously undescribed viruses and could not be clustered with any sequences in three reference datasets. Three approaches (based on references, vOTUs, and auxiliary metabolic genes) consistently showed that host health status, location, and sampling date had potential impacts on virome structures.
This study highlights the practicality of oysters for marine virus exploration and provides a new direction to understand the relationship between marine bivalves and the environment.