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Microb Ecol. 2000 Aug;40(2):85-93.

Artificial Cyanobacterial Mats: Growth, Structure, and Vertical Zonation Patterns.

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Marine Biological Laboratory, University of Copenhagen, Strandpromenaden 5, DK-3000 Helsingør, Denmark


The formation of cyanobacterial mats (originally induced by incubation of sediment cores in which metazoans and most other eukaryotes had been removed) was followed over approximately 2.6 years. The thickness of the mats increased at a rate of 2-3 mm per year because of accumulation of empty cyanobacterial sheaths and as a result of carbonate deposition; the fraction of living biomass remained relatively constant over at least 2 years, but there was a slow accumulation of nonliving organic C ( approximately 1 mmol yr(-1)). Biota composition (dominated by five types of filamentous cyanobacteria, unicellular cyanobacteria, diatoms, anoxygenic phototrophs, and heterotrophic bacteria) and vertical zonation patterns in the upper 2-3 mm of the mats were also almost constant over time. Using transmission electron microscopy and stereological analysis it was possible to quantify the vertical distribution of major groups of organisms.


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