Ruth-Anne Sandaa's picture

Ruth-Anne Sandaa

  • E-mailRuth.Sandaa@uib.no
  • Phone+47 55 58 46 46
  • Visitor Address
    Thormøhlensgt. 53 A/B
  • Postal Address
    Postboks 7803
    5020 Bergen




Half of the accessible oxygen on earth is produced by marine microorganisms, which constitute ~95% of the biomass in the marine ecosystem. Viruses interfere with these biogeochemical cycles by lysing ~50% of the microbial biomass every day.  Most marine viruses are bacteriophages, since bacteria are the most common prey items. However viruses infecting photosynthetic organisms like Cyanobacteria (cyanophages) and Phytoplankton (algal viruses) are also important players in marine ecology as their host organisms are responsible for most of the primary production in the ocean. My primary research objective is to gain information about these viral-host interactions in the marine environment.  

Research topics:

  • Describe and qualify the dynamics and diversity of viral communities and their effects on the host community in natural and experimental ecosystems.
  • Generate new knowledge of two mortality mechanisms causing lysis of marine phytoplankton: viral infection and programmed cell death (PCD), and explore relations between them.
  • Identify viral genes that may play important roles in the metabolic processes of their hosts, increasing both the host and the phage fitness in these environments (co-evolution).
  • Uncovering the keys to success of viruses in extreme marine environments like Arctic deep-sea hydrothermal vent and methane seeps systems.


1.Sandaa, R.-A., V. Torsvik, J. Goksøyr. 1992. Transferable drug resistance in bacteria from fish-farm sediments. Can. J. Microbiol. 38:1061-1065.

2.Sandaa, R.-A. 1993. Transfer and maintenance of the plasmid RP4 in marine sediments. Microb. Releases. 2:115-119.

3.Enger, Ø., R.-A. Sandaa. 1994. Immunomagnetic beads as a tool in conjugation experiments. J. of Microb. Meth. 19:111-115.

4.Sandaa R.-A., and Ø. Enger. 1994. High frequency transfer of a broad host range plasmid indigenous to the fish pathogen Aeromonas salmonicida. Dis. Aquat. Org. 24:71-75.

5.Sandaa, R.-A., and Ø. Enger. 1994. Transfer of a naturally occurring plasmid in  Aeromonas salmonicida 718 in unsterile marine sediments. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 60: 4234-4238.

6.Andersen, S.R., R.-A. Sandaa. 1994. Distribution of tetracycline resistance determinants among gram-negative bacteria isolated from polluted and unpolluted marine sediments. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 60:908-912.

7.Sandaa, R-A., Ø. Enger, and V. Torsvik. 1998. Rapid method for fluorometric quantification of bacterial DNA in soil. Soil Biol. Biochem. 30:265-268.

8.Torsvik, V., F.L. Daae, R.-A. Sandaa, and L. Øvreås. 1998. Review. Novel Techniques for analysing microbial diversity in natural and pertutibed environments. J  Biotech 64:53-62

9.Chatzinotas A., R.-A. Sandaa, D. Hahn, W. Schönhuber, F.L. Daae, V. Torsvik, J. Zeyer, and R. Amann. 1998. Analysis of Broad-scale Differences in Microbial Community Compositions of Two Pristine Forest Soils. Syst. Appl. Microbiol. 21:579-587

10.  Sandaa, R-A., V. Torsvik, Ø. Enger, F.L. Daae, T. Castberg and D. Hahn. 1999. Analysis of bacterial communities in heavy metal contaminated soils at different levels of resolution. FEMS Microb. Ecol. 30:237-251.

11.  Sandaa, R-A., Ø. Enger, and V. Torsvik. 1999. Abundance of Archaea in Heavy Metal Contaminated Soils. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 65:3293-3297

12.  Torsvik, V., F.L. Daae, R.-A. Sandaa and L. Øvreås. 2000. Molecular Biology and genetic diversity of microorganisms. In: Journey to diverse Microbial world: Adaptation to exotic environments. J. Seckbach (Ed.) Kluwer Academic Publishers. the Netherlands. pp 43-57.

13.  Sandaa, R.-A., V. Torsvik and Ø. Enger. 2001. Influence by long term heavy metal contamination on microbial communities in soil. Soil Biol. Biochem. 33:287-295.

14.  Larsen, A., T. Castberg, R.-A. Sandaa, C. Brussaard, J. Egge, J., M. Heldal, A. Paulino, R. Thyrhaug, E. van Hannen, and G. Bratbak. 2001. Population dynamics and diversity of phytoplankton, bacteria and virus in a seawater enclosure. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 221: 47-57.

15.  Castberg, T, A. Larsen,  R-A Sandaa, C.P.D  Brussaard,  J. Egge, M. Heldal, R. Thyrhaug,  E. van Hannen, G. Bratbak. 2001. Microbial population dynamics and diversity during blooms of the marine coccolithophorid Emiliania huxleyi (Haptophyta). Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 221:39-46.

16.  Smalla K., E. Krogerrecklenfort, H. Heuer, W. Dejonghe, E. Top, M. Osborn, J. Niewint, C. Tebbe, M. Barr, M. Bailey, A. Greated, C. Thomas, S. Turner, P. Young, D. Nikolakopoulou, A. Karagouni, A. Wolters, J. D. van Elsas, K. Drønen, R. Sandaa, S. Borin, J. Brabhu, E. Grohmann and P. Sobecky. 2000. PCR-based detection of mobile genetic elements in total community DNA. Microbiol. 146:1256-1257

17.  Sandaa, R.-A., M. Heldal, T. Castberg, R. Thyrhaug and G. Bratbak. 2001. Isolation and characterization of two viruses with large genom size infecting Chrysochromulina ericina (Prymnesiophyceae) and Pyramimonas orientalis (Prasinophyceae). Virol. 290:272-280

18.  Castberg, T, R. Thyrhaug,  A. Larsen, R-A.  Sandaa, M. Heldal, G. Bratbak. 2002. Isolation and characterization of virus infecting Emiliania huxleyi (Haptophyceae). Phycol. 38:767-774

19.  Øvreås, L., D. Bourne, R-A. Sandaa, E. O. Casamayor, S. Benlloch, V. Goddard, G. Smerdon, M. Heldal, T. F. Thingstad. 2003. Response of bacterial and viral communities to nutrient manipulations in seawater mesocosms. Aquat. Microb. Ecol. 31: 109–121

20.  Sandaa R-A., T. Magnesen, L. Torkildsen, Ø. Bergh. 2003. Characterisation of bacterial communities associated with early life stages of cultured Great Scallop, Pecten maximus using Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE). Syst. Appl. Microbiol. 26:302-311

21.  Sandaa, R-A., E. Skjoldal, G. Bratbak. 2003. Virioplankton community structure along a salinity gradient in a solar saltern. Extremophiles. 7:347-351,

22.  Kurabachew M.D., Ø. Enger, Sandaa, R-A., B. Bjorvatn. 2003. Sequence analysis in the 23SDNA region of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and related species. J. Microbiol. Methods. 54:373-380

23.  Kurabachew M.D., Sandaa, R-A., Ø. Enger, B. Bjorvatn. 2003. Amplified Ribosomal DNA Restriction Analysis (ARDRA) in the differentiation of related species of Mycobacteria. J. Microbiol. Methods. 55: 83-90.

24.  Larsen, A., G.A .Fonnes, R-A. Sandaa, T. Castberg, R .Thyrhaug, S.E. Erga, S. Jacquet, and G. Bratbak. 2004. Spring phytoplankton bloom in Norwegian coastal waters: Microbial community dynamics, succession and diversity. Limn. Oceanog.  49:180-190

25.  Brussaard, C.P.D, R-A. Sandaa, G. Bratbak. 2004. The discovery of a novel algal virus type infection of the phytoplankter Micromonas pusilla by a double stranded RNA reovirus. Virol. 319:280-291

26.  Kurabachew M.D., Ø. Enger, R-A. Sandaa, R.  Skuce  and B. Bjorvatn. 2004. Multiplex PCR assay for the detection of mycobacteria and species identification of Mycobacterium bovis and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Diagn. Microbiol. Infect. Dis. 49:99-104.

27.  Sandaa R-A., A. Larsen. 2006. Seasonal variations in viral-host populations in Norwegian coastal waters: Focusing on the cyanophage community infecting marine Synechococcus species. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 72:4610-4618.

28.  Brunvold, L, R-A. Sandaa, H. Bleie, D. Herke, A.B. Olsen,  H. Mikkelsen, E. Welde, A. Nerland, and Ø. Bergh. 2007.  Characterisation of bacterial communities associated with intensively reared cod (Gadus morhua) larvae using Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE).  Aquaculture, 272: 319-327

29.  Sandaa R-A., M. Clokie, N. Mann. 2008. Photosynthetic genes in viral populations within a huge genomic size range, isolated from Norwegian coastal waters.  FEMS Microb. Ecol. 63:2-11

30.  Sandaa, R-A., L. Brunvold,  T. Magnesen, and Ø. Bergh. 2008.  Monitoring opportunistic bacteria in a hatchery for great scallop, Pecten maximus by means of Denaturing Gradient Gel Elecrophoresis (DGGE). Aquaculture 276:14–21.

31.  Monier A., J. Borggaard Larsen, R-A. Sandaa, G. Bratbak, J-M. Claverie, H. Ogata. 2008. Marine mimivirus relatives are probably large algal viruses. Virol. J. 5:12

32.  Larsen, J.B., A. Larsen, R. Thyrhaug, G. Bratbak, and R-A. Sandaa. 2008. Marine viral populations detected during a nutrient induced phytoplankton bloom at elevated pCO2 levels. Biogeosciences 5: 523–533

33.  Larsen, J.B. A. Larsen, G. Bratbak, and R.-A. Sandaa. 2008. Phylogenetic analysis of members of the Phycodnaviridae virus family using amplified fragments of the major capsid protein gene. Appl. Environ. Microbiol.  74:3048-3057.

34.     Sandaa, R-A. 2008. Review. Burden or Benefit-viral –host interaction in the marine environment. Review in Research in Microbiology, 159, 374-381.

35.     Thingstad TF, R.G.J. Bellerby, G. Bratbak, K.Y. Børsheim, J.K. Egge, M. Heldal, A. Larsen, C. Neill, J. Nejstgaard, S. Norland, R-A. Sandaa, E.F. Skjoldal, T. Tanaka, R. Thyrhaug, B. Töpper. 2008. Counterintuitive food web response to organic carbon enrichment in anarctic pelagic ecosystem.  Nature,  455:387-390

36.  Sandaa, R-A.  2009. Viral pool, environmental. In: Encyclopedia in Microbiology, third edition, Ed: Moselio Schaechter, Section: Environmental Microbiology and Ecology.  pp 553-567. Elsevier Ltd.   

37.  Sandaa, R-A., S. Short, D. Schröder.  2009, Fingerprinting aquatic virus communities. In: Methods in Aquatic Viral Ecology.  American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Inc.,   Chapter 2, pp 9–18.

38.  Sandaa, R.-A., L. Gomez-Consarnau, J. Pinhassi, L. Riemann, A. Malits, M. Weinbauer, P.A. Gasol,  and T. F. Thingstad. 2009. Viruses control of bacterial biodiversity - Linkages between viral and bacterial community structure in a nutrient enriched mesocosm experiment. Environmental Microbiology, 11:2585-2595.

39.  Birte Töpper, Aud Larsen, Tron Frede Thingstad, Runar Thyrhaug & Ruth-Anne Sandaa. 2010.Dynamics in bacterial community composition during an Arctic phytoplankton mesocosm bloom. Polar Biology, 33:1557–1565.

40.  Fahlgren, C., Bratbak, G., Sandaa, R-A., Thyrhaug, R., Zweifel, U.L. 2010. Diversity of airborne bacteria in samples collected by use of different devices for aerosol collection. Aerobiologia 1:14.

41.  van der Meeren T, Brunvold, L., Sandaa, R-A., Bergh, Ø., Castberg, T.,Thyrhaug, R., Mangor-Jensen, A.  2011. Water quality and microbial community structure in juvenile Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.) cultures. Aquaculture International, 316:111-120.

42.  Ogata, H., Ray, J., Toyoda, K., Sandaa, R.-A, Nagasaki K, Bratbak, G.,  Claverie, J.M. 2011. Girus-encoded MutS subfamilies abundant in the marine environment. ISME journal, 1-9.

43.  Goldsmith, Crosti, Varsani, McDaniel, Dwivedi, Carlson, Suttle, Weinbauer, Sandaa, Breitbart.2011.  Pho Regulon Genes in Phage: Development of a Novel Signature Gene for Assessing Marine Phage Diversity. Appl. Microb. Ecol,77:7730-7739

44.  Heldal, M, Norland, S, Erichsen, E.S., Sandaa, R.-A.Larsen, A., Thingstad, F. and Bratbak, G. 2011. Mg2+ as an indicator of nutritional status in marine bacteria, ISME Journal, 1–7.

45.  Modha, S. Ray, J., Dondrup, M., Steen, I. H., Sandaa, R.-A. and Clokie, M.. Finding the needle in the  metagenomic viral haystack -  Micro-metagenome analysis captures a snapshot of the evolution of a bacteriophage armoire, submitted to PLoS One

Molecular Microbial ecology.

  • Micropolar
  • Microbial network organisation (MINOS)
  • Diversity and dynamics of marine Haptophytes (HAPTODIV)
  • Research groups