Mesophilic microorganisms build terrestrial mats analogous to Precambrian microbial jungles

Type Article
Date 2019-09
Language English
Author(s) Finke N.1, 2, 3, Simister R. L.1, 2, O'Neil A. H.4, Nomosatryo S.5, 6, Henny C.5, Maclean L. C., Canfield D. E.3, Konhauser K.7, Lalonde Stefan8, Fowle D. A.9, Crowe S. A.1, 2
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ British Columbia, Dept Microbiol & Immunol, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
2 : Univ British Columbia, Dept Earth Ocean & Atmospher Sci, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
3 : Univ Southern Denmark, Nordic Ctr Earth Evolut NordCEE, Odense, Denmark.
4 : Hlth Waterways, Brisbane, Qld, Australia.
5 : Indonesian Inst Sci LIPI, Res Ctr Limnol, Jawa Barat, Indonesia.
6 : GFZ German Res Ctr Geosci, Potsdam, Germany.
7 : Univ Alberta, Dept Earth & Atmospher Sci, Edmonton, AB, Canada.
8 : European Inst Marine Studies, Technopole Brest Iroise, Plouzane, France.
9 : Univ Kansas, Dept Geol, Lawrence, KS 66045 USA.
Source Nature Communications (2041-1723) (Nature Publishing Group), 2019-09 , Vol. 10 , P. -
DOI 10.1038/s41467-019-11541-x
WOS© Times Cited 11
Abstract Development of Archean paleosols and patterns of Precambrian rock weathering suggest colonization of continents by subaerial microbial mats long before evolution of land plants in the Phanerozoic Eon. Modern analogues for such mats, however, have not been reported, and possible biogeochemical roles of these mats in the past remain largely conceptual. We show that photosynthetic, subaerial microbial mats from Indonesia grow on mafic bedrocks at ambient temperatures and form distinct layers with features similar to Precambrian mats and paleosols. Such subaerial mats could have supported a substantial aerobic biosphere, including nitrification and methanotrophy, and promoted methane emissions and oxidative weathering under ostensibly anoxic Precambrian atmospheres. High C-turnover rates and cell abundances would have made these mats prime locations for early microbial diversification. Growth of landmass in the late Archean to early Proterozoic Eons could have reorganized biogeochemical cycles between land and sea impacting atmospheric chemistry and climate.
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Finke N., Simister R. L., O'Neil A. H., Nomosatryo S., Henny C., Maclean L. C., Canfield D. E., Konhauser K., Lalonde Stefan, Fowle D. A., Crowe S. A. (2019). Mesophilic microorganisms build terrestrial mats analogous to Precambrian microbial jungles. Nature Communications, 10, -. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :