The distribution of cyanomyoviruses was estimated using a quantitative PCR (qPCR) approach that targeted the g20 gene as a proxy for phage. Samples were collected spatially during a > 3000 km transect through the Sargasso Sea and temporally during a gyre-constrained phytoplankton bloom within the southern Pacific Ocean. Cyanomyovirus abundances were lower in the Sargasso Sea than in the southern Pacific Ocean, ranging from 2.75 × 10^3 to 5.15 × 10^4 mL−1 and correlating with the abundance of their potential hosts (Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus). Cyanomyovirus abundance in the southern Pacific Ocean (east of New Zealand) followed Synechococcus host populations in the system: this included a decrease in g20 gene copies (4.3 × 10^5 to 9.6 × 10^3 mL−1) following the demise of a Synechococcus bloom. When compared with direct counts of viruses, observations suggest that the cyanomyoviruses comprised 0.5 to >25% of the total virus community. We estimated daily lysis rates of 0.2–46% of the standing stock of Synechococcus in the Pacific Ocean compared with c. < 1.0% in the Sargasso Sea. In total, our observations confirm this family of viruses is abundant in marine systems and that they are an important source of cyanobacterial mortality.
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