We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

What are stromatolites?

The whole doc is available only for registered users

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

Stromatolites are rock-like structures of multi-layered sheets of microorganisms (microbial mats) that form in limestone. Stromatolites generally form from the trapping and binding of particles by microorganisms e.g. algae and bacteria, and grow upward to get light from photosynthesis. Stromatolites provide scientists with some of the oldest records of early life on earth found from fossil remnants dating back to more than 3.5 billion years ago. Name the organism that forms Stromatolites and how they form them: Cyanobacteria form’s Stromatolites from the Cyanobacteria forming ‘colonies’, trapping sediments with their sticky surface. The sediment, now trapped, reacts with calcium carbonate in the water which creates limestone. The limestone starts to build up slowly; i.e. it can take a Stromatolite, approximately, 100 years to grow five cm until it reaches its full height.

Diagram of Stromatolite formation:


The main features of the environment occupied by Stromalite Cyanobacteria Stromatolite Cyanobacteria, due to being photosynthetic requires the water to be shallow, so they can reach the bottom of the ‘water column’ and to have water currents to provide them with the right amount of silt for the stromatolites to cement the silt with the limestone they get from the water, without being overwhelmed by the silt. Stromatolites can exist in places very few life forms can tolerate. For example, they can be found today in hyper-saline lakes and aquatic environments where the salt level is so high, it stops most other life using them.

The role of Stromatolite bacteria in its environment
Stromatolites are able to make their own food through the process of photosynthesis, using chlorophyll. They absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, using the energy retained to build it into energy containing sugars, while they release oxygen. Millions of years ago, the
photosynthesis carried out by the Stromatolites, managed to consume most of the carbon dioxide present, and release enough oxygen to make permanent changes in the atmosphere.

Diagram of process:

The similarities in the past and present environments for Stromatolite Cyanobacteria Outline whether they live in and support anoxic conditions, or live and support oxic conditions From the beginning of Archean times (approx 3.5 billion years ago), Stromatolites began to range in diversity due to the atmosphere changing from having no oxygen to having oxygen, allowing stromatolites to further diversify. Due to this, there was a transition to marine environments with large continental shelves that provided the Stromatolites with a wider habitat. Studies have shown Cyanobacteria to be the contributing factor to of the atmospheric change from anoxic to oxic conditions. As Stromatolites are photosynthetic, they respire during the day, aerobically, but without light, they can also withstand anaerobic conditions. Stromatolites past living conditons consisted of hostile environments i.e. very salty or acidic waters, and coastal habitats. Today, Stromatolites have been found in a diverse range of conditions and habitats, though are predominantly, still living in extreme environments


“Controls on Development and Diversity of Early Archean Stromatolites.” Controls on Development and Diversity of Early Archean Stromatolites. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2013 “Photosynthesis 3.5 Bya.” Photosynthesis 3.5 Bya. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2013. “Stromatolite.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 14 Feb. 2013. Web. 15 Feb. 2013. “Stromatolites – The Longest Living Organisms on the Earth.” Stromatolites – The Longest Living Organisms on the Earth. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2013. “Stromatolites.” Stromatolites. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2013.

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59