Macquarie University
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Exploring the diversity and evolution of fish viromes

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posted on 2022-10-06, 05:06 authored by Olivia Turnbull

Fish have the greatest viral abundance of any group of vertebrates. Their unique and diverse ecologies, in combination with their basal location within the phylogeny of vertebrates makes them excellent hosts in which to study virus evolution. In this thesis, I review the literature on viruses in the marine ecosystem, with a focus on the viruses that infect fish. I then characterise the viromes of nine species of fish sampled from Bass Strait, Australia. As a result, I discovered 15 novel viruses that spanned ten viral families. One of the viruses discovered, flavolineata virus, was of particular interest, as it was the second fish virus to be identified in the Amnoonviridae family. Until recently, the sole member of this family was tilapia lake virus (TiLV), a highly contagious virus that causes mortality rates of up to 90% in infected fish, which has significantly impacted tilapia farming operations globally. The discovery of flavolineata virus sparked further exploration into Amnoonviridae, and through mining published data, my co-researchers and I discovered ten additional viruses in this family. This thesis highlights the abundance of novel viruses that can be found within fish hosts, and expands our understanding of the vertebrate virosphere.


Table of Contents

Chapter One: Fish viruses in marine ecosystems -- Chapter Two: A meta-transcriptomic survey of marine fish reveals an abundance of diverse novel viruses -- Chapter Three: Meta-transcriptomic identification of divergent Amnoonviridae in fish -- Chapter Four: Conclusions and future directions -- References -- Supplementary material -- Appendix


Submitted as part of the requirements for completion of the degree of Master of Research

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis MRes, Macquarie University, Department of Biological Sciences, 2020

Department, Centre or School

Department of Biological Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Jemma Geoghegan

Additional Supervisor 1

Jane Williamson

Additional Supervisor 2

Ajay Narendra


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




74 pages

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