Blooms of the alga Emiliania huxleyi can cover thousands of square kilometers in the ocean.....until cells are lysed by the EhV virus. These relatively large double-stranded DNA coccolithoviruses lead to the rapid demise of E. huxleyi blooms. 

It was already known that EhV moves about in oceanic waters through diffusion, advection, and mixing. Now Sharoni et al have recently shown that EhV is distributed through ocean aerosols. Through a series of crafty laboratory experiments, they showed that infective EhV particles can become aerosolized when their host-rich growth medium is actively bubbled. These virions, often moving as aggregates, could sneak through the head space between joined flasks to infect naive hosts nearby. 

Movement in the laboratory is much more comfortable than in the open ocean where temperature, humidity, and light intensities fluctuate to extremes that result in virion decay. Sharoni et al. measured EhV decay in a laboratory setup that mimicked these real-life conditions, and calculated a viral half life of ~20 minutes, which would result in infective virions being present for several hours.  

Moving to the open ocean, they also quantified the number of E. huxleyi cells and EhV virions in aerosol samples collected from a naturally occurring bloom. They found 1,000 algal cells per ml of air, and 50,000 EhV virions per ml of air. Thus, the viruses were present at an abundance that was ~10-fold higher than the abundance of their host, consistent with viral-host ratios in other marine systems.

Putting all of these numbers together for a back-of-the-envelope calculation, Sharoni et al. estimated that 10 million infective EhV virions could travel hundreds of kilometers to find their next meal. It's a long way to go, but the feast is well worth it.