Purpose of stromatolite study

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Purpose of stromatolite study

This is a transcript of a QuickTime movie (3.6 MB) recorded at Shark Bay in 2005. Stefan Leuko, from the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, discusses the purpose of his stromatolite study in Shark Bay.


What we are specifically trying to study is the composition of what the stromatolites are made of. We know already that they are mainly built of cyanobacteria under precipitation. But we still want to investigate what is the distribution of this bacteria. Are cyanobacteria only on the top or on the bottom as well? If you cut the samples in thin sections is there any change in the distribution, are more bacteria inside the stromatolite, than outside of the stromatolite, as well as looking for halophilic archaea in there, which are high salt loving and these stromatolites are not clean shaped structures actually, they have little holes in there where salt precipitates and builds high salt concentrations both in stromatolite and the halophilic archaea. That's why you can find halophilic archaea within stromatolites. And this is specifically the aim of our studies, as well as how can it evolve to such a structure as you see today.




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