A new survey identified nearly 200,000 new marine virus species, thus adding up to the already-documented 15,000 infective agents.
The new findings, set out by scientists aboard a sailboat, help scientists better understand how viruses affect the marine ecosystem.
"Because they're present in such huge numbers, they really matter," Matthew Sullivan, a microbiologist at The Ohio State University, said in a statement.
It is noted that viruses may affect how the ocean extracts carbon dioxide from the air and into the water, the researchers said.
"In the last 20 years or so, we've learned that half of the oxygen that we breathe comes from marine organisms. Additionally, the oceans soak up half of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” Sullivan stated.