About this Research Topic
Microbialites represent one of the oldest known ecosystems on Earth, with a fossil record dating back 3.7 billion years. These long-lived communities form sedimentary structures as a result of the synergy between microbial metabolisms and the environment. Dominant in Precambrian, microbialites are relatively rare today, and are found mainly in restricted habitats with sparse eukaryotic populations. Additionally, modern microbialites are becoming increasingly exposed to effects of global climate change, such as rising sea levels, ocean acidification and warmer temperatures.
Investigations of extinct microbialites represent a unique opportunity to understand the feedbacks that occur between microbialite communities and their environment. The environment influences microbialite formation while at the same time microbialites are altering the physiochemical conditions over various spatial and temporal scales.
In this Research Topic we welcome submissions (including original research, perspectives, and reviews) by experts in the field to present a broad range of articles that investigate and discuss the formation of modern microbialites and the interactions between microbes and the environment. Contributions that characterize microbialite microbiome, integrate microbial and functional gene diversity with both chemical and geological processes, and use state-of-the-art systems biology approaches to understand these ancient ecosystems are encouraged. Key questions in this field are, but are not limited to, what are the taxa, genes, metabolites, and proteins that influence microbialite formation; how do microbes network and coordinate their activities to form microbialites; how do environmental conditions influence microbialite ecosystems both in the past and present; and how are modern microbial systems likely to respond to ongoing climate change?
Articles in this Research Topic will enable the reader to gain insight into the processes by which microbialites form and how these ancient ecosystems potentially adapt to and alter their surrounding environment.
Keywords: Microbialites, Geobiological Processes
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.