Our quest to find the earliest forms of microbial life and understand their role in the mediation of surficial processes has focused primarily on bacteria, since they represent the most primitive forms of life and possess the ability to contribute to the precipitation and dissolution of minerals (e.g., Fortin et al., 1997; Little et al., 1997; Nealson and Stahl, 1997) and the formation of biolaminated structures such as stromatolites (e.g., Awramik et al., 1976; Golubic, 1976). Stromatolites are the mineralized counterparts of microbial mats and represent some of the most tangible sources of morphological, biological,...

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