Abstract

Intertidal stromatolites are major components of a fringing Holocene reef complex at Stocking Island, Exuma Cays, Bahamas. Trapping and binding of fine-grained carbonate sand by microorganisms, primarily filamentous cyanobacteria and diatoms, and differential lithification of sediment have produced layered structures with up to 0.5 m of relief. Formation of these stromatolites in an environment of normal marine salinity is attributed to reduced competition from crustose red algae, availability of a stable substrate, and rapid cementation. Destruction of lamination in Stocking Island stromatolites by molluscs, sponges, and worms suggests that boring invertebrates play a key role in stromatolite preservation.

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