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Book Chapter

Geomicrobiology of carbonate microbialites in the Tahiti reef

By
Rolf J. Warthmann
Rolf J. Warthmann
Institute of Biotechnology, Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW, 8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland
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Gilbert Camoin
Gilbert Camoin
CEREGE, Europôle de l’Arbois BP 80, 13545 Aix en Provence, France
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Judith A. McKenzie
Judith A. McKenzie
Geomicrobiology Laboratory, Geological Institute, ETH-Zürich, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
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Crisógono Vasconcelos
Crisógono Vasconcelos
Geomicrobiology Laboratory, Geological Institute, ETH-Zürich, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
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Published:
January 01, 2015

Abstract

Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 310 (Tahiti Sea Level) offered an opportunity to study the geomicrobiology of a reef framework. Offshore drilling was conducted on the coastal reefs of Tahiti (French Polynesia) at 22 sites in water depths of up to 117 m. Up to 80% of the retrieved core material comprises authigenic grey microbial carbonates with laminated or thrombolitic morphologies, which are associated with corals. Microbialites infilled the cavities during reef development and stabilized the coral reef framework. Rock-surface analyses were performed to track ongoing microbial activity in biofilms that could represent a modern counterpart of the processes at the origin of the formation of fossil microbialites. Significant concentrations of adenosine 5′-triphosphate, indicative of the presence of living microorganisms, were detected at relatively shallow depths, 0–6 m below the seafloor. Exoenzyme activities confirmed the presence of an active metabolizing microbiota forming biofilms in reef cavities. Onshore investigations of the recovered microbes and biofilms completed our picture that the rapid postglacial formation of carbonate microbialites was mediated by the activity of anaerobic microbes, such as sulphate-reducing bacteria and iron-respiring organisms, stimulated by the highly productive reef environment.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Microbial Carbonates in Space and Time: Implications for Global Exploration and Production

D. W. J. Bosence
D. W. J. Bosence
Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
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K. A. Gibbons
K. A. Gibbons
Nexen Petroleum UK Ltd, UK
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D. P. Le Heron
D. P. Le Heron
Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
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W. A. Morgan
W. A. Morgan
Morgan Geoscience Consulting, LLC, USA
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T. Pritchard
T. Pritchard
BG Group, UK
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B. A. Vining
B. A. Vining
Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
418
ISBN electronic:
9781862397163
Publication date:
January 01, 2015

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