Microbial community composition and dolomite formation in the hypersaline microbial mats of the Khor Al-Adaid sabkhas, Qatar
Al Disi Z.A.
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The Khor Al-Adaid sabkha in Qatar is among the rare extreme environments on Earth where it is possible to study the formation of dolomite-a carbonate mineral whose origin remains unclear and has been hypothetically linked to microbial activity. By combining geochemical measurements with microbiological analysis, we have investigated the microbial mats colonizing the intertidal areas of sabhka. The main aim of this study was to identify communities and conditions that are favorable for dolomite formation. We inspected and sampled two locations. The first site was colonized by microbial mats that graded vertically from photo-oxic to anoxic conditions and were dominated by cyanobacteria. The second site, with higher salinity, had mats with an uppermost photo-oxic layer dominated by filamentous anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria (FAPB), which potentially act as a protective layer against salinity for cyanobacterial species within the deeper layers. Porewater in the uppermost layers of the both investigated microbial mats was supersaturated with respect to dolomite. Corresponding to the variation of the microbial community's vertical structure, a difference in crystallinity and morphology of dolomitic phases was observed: dumbbell-shaped proto-dolomite in the mats dominated by cyanobacteria and rhombohedral ordered-dolomite in the mat dominated by FAPB.
- Marine Science Cluster [137 items ]