Adenoviruses are medium size nonenveloped viruses with a trend of coevolution with their hosts. We surveyed South American fur seals (Arctocephalus australis) and Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) for adenoviruses at two sites from 2009 to 2012. Despite the common pattern of host specificity, some of the adenoviruses in our study were present in samples from unexpected host species. We identified mastadenoviruses, aviadenoviruses, and siadenoviruses in A. australis from Peru and Chile and in S. humboldti from Peru. The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) significantly reduces the productivity of the Humboldt upwelling system, which can change trophic and other ecological interactions, facilitating exposure to new pathogens. One aviadenovirus was detected in both the penguins and the fur seals, an interclass distance. This finding occurred only during the 2009 ENSO and not in 2010 or 2012. Further studies of viral diversity in sites with high-density mixed species populations are necessary to better understand viral evolution and the effect of environmental change on viral evolution and host specificity.
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Vol. 57 • No. 4