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Evidence of oxygenic phototrophy in ancient phosphatic stromatolites from the Paleoproterozoic Vindhyan and Aravalli Supergroups, India.
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0206-579
Stockholm University.
Stockholm University.
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2018 (English)In: Geobiology, ISSN 1472-4677, E-ISSN 1472-4669, Vol. 16, p. 139-159Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Fossil microbiotas are rare in the early rock record, limiting the type of ecological information extractable from ancient microbialites. In the absence of body fossils, emphasis may instead be given to microbially derived features, such as microbialite growth patterns, microbial mat morphologies, and the presence of fossilized gas bubbles in lithified mats. The metabolic affinity of micro-organisms associated with phosphatization may reveal important clues to the nature and accretion of apatite-rich microbialites. Stromatolites from the 1.6 Ga Chitrakoot Formation (Semri Group, Vindhyan Supergroup) in central India contain abundant fossilized bubbles interspersed within fine-grained in situ-precipitated apatite mats with average δ13Corg indicative of carbon fixation by the Calvin cycle. In addition, the mats hold a synsedimentary fossil biota characteristic of cyanobacterial and rhodophyte morphotypes. Phosphatic oncoid cone-like stromatolites from the Paleoproterozoic Aravalli Supergroup (Jhamarkotra Formation) comprise abundant mineralized bubbles enmeshed within tufted filamentous mat fabrics. Construction of these tufts is considered to be the result of filamentous bacteria gliding within microbial mats, and as fossilized bubbles within pristine mat laminae can be used as a proxy for oxygenic phototrophy, this provides a strong indication for cyanobacterial activity in the Aravalli mounds. We suggest that the activity of oxygenic phototrophs may have been significant for the formation of apatite in both Vindhyan and Aravalli stromatolites, mainly by concentrating phosphate and creating steep diurnal redox gradients within mat pore spaces, promoting apatite precipitation. The presence in the Indian stromatolites of alternating apatite-carbonate lamina may result from local variations in pH and oxygen levels caused by photosynthesis–respiration in the mats. Altogether, this study presents new insights into the ecology of ancient phosphatic stromatolites and warrants further exploration into the role of oxygen-producing biotas in the formation of Paleoproterozoic shallow-basin phosphorites.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 16, p. 139-159
Keywords [en]
cyanobacteria, gas bubbles, microbial mats, phosphatization, phosphorites, India
National Category
Evolutionary Biology Geology
Research subject
Ecosystems and species history
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-2894DOI: 10.1111/gbi.12274OAI: oai:DiVA.org:nrm-2894DiVA, id: diva2:1257717
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2010-3929, 2013-4290Danish National Research Foundation, DNRF53Available from: 2018-10-22 Created: 2018-10-22 Last updated: 2018-10-22Bibliographically approved

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