Viruses are a naturally abundant component of plankton in lakes and rivers of upstate New York (Middelboe et al. 2008) (Fig. 1). They mostly infect and kill abundant, co-occurring bacterial and small eukaryotic hosts, and thereby they play an important role in shuttling organic molecules between cell-bound and dissolved organic matter pools that are readily consumed by uninfected microorganisms (Weinbauer 2004). While most viruses in typical freshwater environments originate from autochthonous sources (i.e. hosts within the freshwater environment) (Peduzzi & Luef 2008), freshwater virioplankton may also originate from allochthonous sources (i.e. those outside the freshwater environment) including those from terrestrial hosts (Olapade et al. 2006). In New York state, the catchments of most lakes are influenced by agricultural land uses, including both livestock and crop production(Mills et al.
1978). There is currently very little information on the types or persistence of viruses of agricultural origin that enter lakes via passive mechanisms (e.g. runoff). The goal of the proposed study is to screen viral consortia from two contrasting freshwater ecosystems and adjacent agricultural soils, to detect the presence and decay rates of allochthonous viruses of agricultural origin in lake habitats.