Foster, Jamie S. Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, Space Sciences Lab, University of Florida, Merritt Island, Florida.
Last reviewed:November 2019
- Microbialite microbiome
- Building a microbialite
- Meta-omics and microbialites
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A mineral deposit formed by the interactions between microbes and their environment and thought to be one of the oldest ecosystems on Earth. Through the metabolic activities of microbialites, these ancient ecosystems have profoundly affected the evolution of Earth's environment, most notably contributing to the change in planetary redox (reduction–oxidation reaction) conditions and the rise of free oxygen in the atmosphere. To understand more fully the role of microbialites throughout Earth's history and potentially to reconstruct ancient environments, modern microbialites have been used as analogous ecosystems. Modern microbialites are found across the globe in a wide range of aquatic habitats, including freshwater, marine, and hypersaline environments, and can be classified according to their internal microstructures (see illustration). Most microbialites can be attributed to one of four major categories: stromatolites with laminated microfabrics; thrombolites with a clotted microfabric; dendrolites with branching structures; and leolites, which appear structureless. Together, these modern systems serve as important analogs to understand the biological and environmental processes associated with microbialite formation. See also: Depositional systems and environments; Ecosystem; Environment; Marine microbiology; Microbial ecology; Microbiology; Stromatolite
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 45 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information