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Stromatolites in the deep sea

Mar 19, 2018
Research team discovers fossils at 730 meter water depth
The microbial mats bulge at the gas outlets. They are involved in the construction of the dome-like stromatolites. Photo: MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen
The microbial mats bulge at the gas outlets. They are involved in the construction of the dome-like stromatolites. Photo: MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen

Stromatolites are among the oldest fossils with 3.5 billion years. Up to now, however, lime deposits have only occurred in shallow seas with water depths of up to ten meters. The lime layers can only grow if microorganisms that carry out photosynthesis are involved. A study by geoscientists from Germany, Austria and the USA shows that with the help of light-independent microbes that carry out chemosynthesis, stromatolites can also grow to a water depth of 730 metres on the seafloor. Tobias Himmler from the MARUM - Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen and his team of authors have now published their results in the journal Geology.

Original publication