Criteria for Distinguishing Microbial Mats and Earths
Published:January 01, 2012
Microbial earths are communities of microscopic organisms living in well-drained soil. Unlike aquatic microbial mats and stromatolites, microbial earths are sheltered from ultraviolet radiation, desiccation, and other surficial hazards within soil cracks and grain interstices. Currently, such ecosystems are best known in small areas of unusually cold, hot, or saline soils unfavorable to multicellular plants and animals. During the Precambrian, microbial earths may have been more widespread, but few examples have been reported. This review outlines a variety of features of modern microbial earths that can be used to distinguish them from aquatic microbial mats and stromatolites in the...
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Microbial Mats in Siliciclastic Depositional Systems Through Time
The research field on microbial mats in siliciclastic environmental settings has greatly developed since its establishment by studies of pioneering scientists such as Gisela Gerdes, Wolfgang Krumbein, Jürgen Scheiber, David Bottjer and others. This SEPM Special Publication is the result of the SEPM Research Conference on Sandy Microbial Mats (modern and ancient), which was held in May 21-23, 2010 at Dinosaur Ridge, Denver, Colorado, USA. This volume presents peer reviewed individual case studies on microbial mats and on sedimentary structures (often called “microbially induced sedimentary structures-MISS”) that occur in modern and ancient marine and terrestrial environments. The conference brought together sedimentologists, microbiologists, and paleontologists from 30 countries and all five continents.