Viruses

Very little is known concerning the prevalence of viruses in desert environments. Although viral particles have been found in desert environments, the greatest amount of knowledge has been observed from studies of airborne dust which have found a number of viable viral particles, such as foot and mouth disease (Griffin et al., 2007). A recent study by Fancello et al. (2012) examined the viral diversity in deserts and found viruses that are likely to inhabit cyanobacteria and heterotrophic bacteria, although further work will help to understand what viruses are present in desert environments.

Griffin, D.W. (2007). Atmospheric movement of microorganisms in clouds of desert dust and implications for human health. Clinical Microbiology Reviews 20: 459-477.

Fancello, L., Trape, S., Robert, C., Boyer, M., Popgeorgiev, N., Raoult, D., Desnues, C. (2012). Viruses in the desert: a metagenomic survey of viral communities in four perennial ponds of the Mauritanian Sahara. The ISME Journal , 1-11.