Special Issue "Microbialites: Preservation of Extant and Extinct Systems"

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Mineralogy and Biogeochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Emmanuelle Vennin

Laboratoire Biogéosciences, Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France
Website | E-Mail
Interests: sedimentology; carbonates; bioconstruction; bioaccumulation; microbialites; phanerozoic
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Pieter T. Visscher

Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, United States
Website | E-Mail
Interests: geomicrobiology; microbe-mineral interactions; microbialites; microbial mats
Guest Editor
Dr. Raphaël Bourillot

Géoressources & Environnement, ENSEGID-Bordeaux INP, Bordeaux, France
Website | E-Mail
Interests: sedimentology; stratigraphy; diagenesis; geomicrobiology; reefs; microbialites

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Microbialites are organosedimentary deposits formed through the mineralization of benthic microbial mats and/or trapping and binding of sedimentary particles. These structures are abundant in modern—sometimes/often extreme—shallow to deep, freshwater to marine environments, and are common in the fossil record. Consequently, microbialites constitute an invaluable archive of Earth’s past surface and subsurface conditions. The last two decades have seen an emergence of studies focusing on microbe–mineral interactions and the formation of microbial sedimentary fabrics. More recently, early diagenetic processes have also gained research attention. Many recent advances in methodology allow for a better understanding of microbialite formation, from initial development to evolution during early and late diagenesis. The understanding of preservation processes of modern microbial mats, focusing on biotic-abiotic interactions, may facilitate a better interpretation of the fossil record.

This Special Issue combines research on fossil and modern microbialites with a broad focus including sedimentology, (bio)geochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, geomicrobiology, ecology and mineralogy. The main objectives are to review recent and ongoing developments in this field in order to: (i) refine the understanding of microbialite formation in modern sedimentary environments to (ii) increase the understanding of (the modalities of their) preservation mechanisms to (iii) ultimately improve the interpretation of the fossil record.

The first round of submission deadline was 30 November 2018.

Prof. Dr. Emmanuelle Vennin
Prof. Dr. Pieter T. Visscher
Dr. Raphaël Bourillot
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Minerals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • microbialites
  • carbonates
  • mineralization
  • diagenesis
  • biotic/abiotic processes

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Jurassic Non-Carbonate Microbialites from the Betic-Rifian Cordillera (Tethys Western End): Textures, Mineralogy, and Environmental Reconstruction
Minerals 2019, 9(2), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9020088
Received: 12 December 2018 / Revised: 7 January 2019 / Accepted: 25 January 2019 / Published: 30 January 2019
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Abstract
The term microbialite is commonly applied for describing carbonate organo-sedimentary deposits that have accreted as a result of the activity of benthic microbial communities (BMC). However, non-carbonate microbialites are progressively well-known and show a great diversity of organisms, processes, and mineralogical compositions. This [...] Read more.
The term microbialite is commonly applied for describing carbonate organo-sedimentary deposits that have accreted as a result of the activity of benthic microbial communities (BMC). However, non-carbonate microbialites are progressively well-known and show a great diversity of organisms, processes, and mineralogical compositions. This article reviews three types of Jurassic microbialites from four different environmental contexts from the Betic-Rifian Cordillera (South Spain and North Morocco): marine hardgrounds, submarine caves, hydrothermal vents, and submarine volcanic deposits. The Middle-Late Jurassic transition in the External Subbetic (Betic Cordillera) and the Jbel Moussa Group (Rifian Calcareous Chain) was characterized by the fragmentation of the carbonate epicontinental platforms that favored these different settings: (A) Many stratigraphic breaks are recorded as hardgrounds with surficial hydrogenetic Fe crusts and macro-oncoids related to chemo-organotrophic behavior of BMC that served as a specific trap for Fe and Mn enrichment; (B) Cryptic hydrogenetic Fe-Mn crusts (or endostromatolites) grew in the walls of submarine cavities and fractures mainly constituted by Frutexites (chemosynthetic and cryptobiontic microorganism) locally associated to serpulids; (C) Hydrothermal Mn crusts are mainly constituted by different types of filaments and bacillus-shaped bacteria, whose mineralogy and geochemistry point to a submarine hydrothermal origin; (D) Finally, glauconite laminated crusts, constituted by branched cylindrical filaments, have grown in cryptic spaces among the pillow-lava bodies, probably related to the metabolism of chemo-organotrophic microbes under oxic conditions at temperatures between 30 and 90 °C. In most of the cases described in this work, microbial organisms forming microbialites were extremophiles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbialites: Preservation of Extant and Extinct Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Contribution of Benthic Processes to the Growth of Ooids on a Low-Energy Shore in Cat Island, The Bahamas
Minerals 2018, 8(6), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8060252
Received: 1 May 2018 / Revised: 7 June 2018 / Accepted: 11 June 2018 / Published: 14 June 2018
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Abstract
Ooids are typically found in frequently reworked coastal sediments, and are thought to accrete by inorganic chemical precipitation around moving grains. The high organic content and the presence of biosignatures, however, suggest that ooids interact with benthic microbial communities. Here, we investigate the [...] Read more.
Ooids are typically found in frequently reworked coastal sediments, and are thought to accrete by inorganic chemical precipitation around moving grains. The high organic content and the presence of biosignatures, however, suggest that ooids interact with benthic microbial communities. Here, we investigate the role of benthic processes on ooid growth on a leeward shore of Cat Island, The Bahamas. Polished ooids are present in the surf zone, whereas dull ooids and grapestones are present in microbially colonized sediments seaward of the surf zone. Wave hydrodynamics and sediment transport modeling suggest that microbially colonized sediments are mobilized at monthly time scales. We propose a new conceptual model for both ooids and grapestone. Ooids rest and accrete in the area covered by microbial mats, but are periodically transported to the surf zone where wave abrasion polishes them within days. Ooids are then transported back to microbially colonized areas where the accretion cycle resumes. Ooids too large to be transported become trapped outside the surf zone, exit the “conveyor belt” and become grapestones. The benthic growth mechanism predicts petrographic characteristics that match observations: successive ooid laminae do not thin outward, laminae exhibit irregularities, and some ooids include multiple nuclei. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbialites: Preservation of Extant and Extinct Systems)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Fossilised Biomolecules and Biomarkers in Carbonate Concretions from Konservat-Lagerstätten
Minerals 2019, 9(3), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9030158
Received: 20 January 2019 / Revised: 24 February 2019 / Accepted: 27 February 2019 / Published: 6 March 2019
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Abstract
In the vast majority of fossils, the organic matter is degraded with only an impression or cast of the organism remaining. In rare cases, ideal burial conditions result in a rapid fossilisation with an exceptional preservation of soft tissues and occasionally organic matter. [...] Read more.
In the vast majority of fossils, the organic matter is degraded with only an impression or cast of the organism remaining. In rare cases, ideal burial conditions result in a rapid fossilisation with an exceptional preservation of soft tissues and occasionally organic matter. Such deposits are known as Lagerstätten and have been found throughout the geological record. Exceptional preservation is often associated with finely crystalline quartz (e.g., cherts), fine sediments (e.g., muds) or volcanic ashes. Other mechanisms include burial in anoxic/euxinic sediments and in the absence of turbidity or scavenging. Exceptional preservation can also occur when an organism is encapsulated in carbonate cement, forming a concretion. This mechanism involves complex microbial processes, resulting in a supersaturation in carbonate, with microbial sulfate reduction and methane cycling the most commonly suggested processes. In addition, conditions of photic zone euxinia are often found to occur during concretion formation in marine environments. Concretions are ideal for the study of ancient and long-extinct organisms, through both imaging techniques and biomolecular approaches. These studies have provided valuable insights into the evolution of organisms and their environments through the Phanerozoic and have contributed to increasing interest in fields including chemotaxonomy, palaeobiology, palaeoecology and palaeophysiology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbialites: Preservation of Extant and Extinct Systems)
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