Stromatolites: What's Sulfur Got to Do With It?

Presenter: Janet Siefert, Rice University
When: April 8, 2008 2:30PM PDT

Stromatolites (or more generally, microbialites) are carbonate encased complex microbial communities. They were a mainstream feature of early earth and now are found only in special ecosystems that provide for bacterial domination. This talk describes the bacterial constituency and metabolism within the local context of extant microbialites. We provide evidence that at least one of the conditions for microbialite formation is the presence of sulfur cycle resident in the community. Descriptions such as these better define possible early earth conditions that proved ripe for stromatolite formation and the possibility that we might extend those constraints to the possibilities of similar biotic preservation extra terrestrially.

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