Trends in Microbiology ( 2022)
Viruses are key members of Earth’s microbiomes, shaping microbial community composition and metabolism. Here, we describe recent advances in ‘soil viromics’, that is, virus-focused metagenome and metatranscriptome analyses that offer unprecedented windows into the soil virosphere. Given the emerging picture of high soil viral activity, diversity, and dynamics over short spatiotemporal scales, we then outline key eco-evolutionary processes that we hypothesize are the major diversity drivers for soil viruses. We argue that a community effort is needed to establish a ‘global soil virosphere atlas’ that can be used to address the roles of viruses in soil microbiomes and terrestrial biogeochemical cycles across spatiotemporal scales.