Geospatial distribution of viromes in tropical freshwater ecosystems

Xiaoqiong Gu, Qi Xiang Martin Tay, Shu Harn Te, Nazanin Saeidi, Shin Giek Goh, Ariel Kushmaro, Janelle R. Thompson, Karina Yew Hoong Gin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study seeks to understand the general distribution of virome abundance and diversity in tropical freshwater ecosystems in Singapore and the geospatial distribution of the virome under different landuse patterns. Correlations between diversity, environmental parameters and land use patterns were analyzed and significant correlations were highlighted. Overall, the majority (65.5%) of the annotated virome belonged to bacteriophages. The percentage of Caudovirales was higher in reservoirs whereas the percentages of Dicistroviridae, Microviridae and Circoviridae were higher in tributaries. Reservoirs showed a higher Shannon-index virome diversity compared to upstream tributaries. Land use (urbanized, agriculture and parkland areas) influenced the characteristics of the virome distribution pattern. Dicistroviridae and Microviridae were enriched in urbanized tributaries while Mimiviridae, Phycodnaviridae, Siphoviridae and Podoviridae were enriched in parkland reservoirs. Several sequences closely related to the emerging zoonotic virus, cyclovirus, and the human-related virus (human picobirnavirus), were also detected. In addition, the relative abundance of PMMoV (pepper mild mottle virus) sequences was significantly correlated with RT-qPCR measurements (0.588 < r < 0.879, p < 0.05). This study shows that spatial factors (e.g., reservoirs/tributaries, land use) are the main drivers of the viral community structure in tropical freshwater ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-232
Number of pages13
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Diversity
  • Freshwater ecosystems
  • Geospatial distribution
  • Human-related viruses
  • Land use
  • Virome

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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