Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is an important eukaryotic alga that has been studied as a model organism for decades. Despite extensive history as a model system, phylogenetic and genetic characteristics of viruses infecting this alga have remained elusive. We analyzed high-throughput genome sequence data of C. reinhardtii field isolates, and in six we discovered sequences belonging to endogenous giant viruses that reach up to several hundred kilobases in length. In addition, we have also discovered the entire genome of a closely related giant virus that is endogenized within the genome of Chlamydomonas incerta , the closest sequenced phylogenetic relatives of C. reinhardtii . Endogenous giant viruses add hundreds of new gene families to the host strains, highlighting their contribution to the pangenome dynamics and inter-strain genomic variability of C. reinhardtii . Our findings suggest that the endogenization of giant viruses can have important implications for structuring the population dynamics and ecology of protists in the environment.