Putting viruses in their place: The drivers of viral diversity on an isolated New Zealand island
Seminar presented by Dr Rebecca French
Viruses are often perceived as harmful pathogens, particularly in relation to human health. However, recent studies using metagenomic and metatranscriptomic sequencing have uncovered the remarkable diversity and prevalence of viruses across various ecosystems and host species. Many viruses have been found in apparently healthy hosts, indicating a relatively small proportion of viruses are pathogenic.
In this presentation, I will provide an overview of the implications of these discoveries for future research, and explore how we can tailor future studies to gain a deeper understanding of the factors driving cross-species transmission and the emergence of pathogens.
I will share insights from a project in which we aimed to put viruses into their proper context within ecosystems by characterizing the virome structure of an entire island ecological community, the first time such research has been conducted on this scale.
I will discuss the implications of our findings, including both the broad implications for our understanding of viral ecology and disease emergence, and the specific implications for the taonga species on Pukenui/Anchor Island.