(CNN)There are nearly 200,000 species of viruses in the world's oceans, about 12 times more than scientists previously knew existed.
That's just one of the discoveries in a new study published in the journal Cell on Thursday. The research, led by scientists at the Ohio State University, has wide-ranging implications, from evolution to biotechnology to climate change.
Matthew Sullivan, a microbiologist at the Ohio State University and one of the study's authors, called it a road map to understanding how viruses affect ecosystems in the ocean.
"Having that road map helps us do a lot of the things we'd be interested in to better understand the ocean and, I hate to say it, but maybe to have to engineer the ocean at some point to combat climate change," Sullivan told CNN.
The study revealed that viruses are organized into five distinct ecological zones throughout the ocean.
It also revealed new hotspots of biodiversity -- areas that are rich in