Stromatolites are mounds of cyanobacteria and sediment that have been found in the fossil record since 3.5 billion years ago in the Archean time period. The mounds resemble a cross between a cauliflower and a rock:
Living stromatolites were not discovered until 1956 in Shark Bay off the west coast of Australia (There's some poetry to accompany this stromatolite tour). These present-day algal mounds are also found in the Bahamas.
"Stromatolite" is derived from stroma, Latin for layer, and it is easy to see why. The laminae are particularly well-defined, especially in thin section.
Shark Bay is the site of discovery of
chlorophyll f, a type form of chlorophyll that absorbs further in the infrared light part of the spectrum (red) than other chlorophylls. (Are you blue-green with envy?)
Chlorophyll f's discovery was made by scientists at the University of Sydney led by Dr. Min Chen. It is the first discovery of a new form of chlorophyll since about the time stromatolites were discovered in Shark Bay.
1) Where are these stromatolites? (They are poetically called "Petrified Sea Gardens.")
2) Based on today's post, what are these organic structures called?
3) Where are these stromatolites? Hint: maple syrup is big here.
4) Let out your inner POETS for PEOTS: Write your best stromatolite haiku, limerick, or any other poetry form. Help celebrate two years of scientists who like to write and writers who like science. . .
Peeling those (not-always round) onion layers,