Bacterial Stromatolites: Origin of Laminations

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Science  07 Jun 1974:
Vol. 184, Issue 4141, pp. 1083-1085
DOI: 10.1126/science.184.4141.1083


Laminated mats composed of motile filamentous photosynthetic bacteria and nonmotile unicellular blue-green algae occur in a large number of Yellowstone hot springs at temperatures between 55° and 70°C. Field studies indicate that the bacteria are the predominant mat-forming component. Under low light intensities, mats composed exclusively of bacteria can be formed. The bacteria undergo a diurnal migration, moving on top of the algae dnring the night and becolming mixed again with the algae during the day of differential migration of the bacteria in daily response to reduced light intensities. This response to light is exactly opposite to that previously reported for filamentous stromatolite-forming, blue-green algae, but the net result is the same—formation of a laminated mat.