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BG | Articles | Volume 17, issue 3
Biogeosciences, 17, 649–666, 2020
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-17-649-2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Biogeosciences, 17, 649–666, 2020
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-17-649-2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 07 Feb 2020

Research article | 07 Feb 2020

Sterol preservation in hypersaline microbial mats

Yan Shen et al.

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Abed, R. M. M., Al-Thukair, A., and de Beer, D.: Bacterial diversity of a cyanobacterial mat degrading petroleum compounds at elevated salinities and temperatures, FEMS Microbiol. Ecol., 57, 290–301, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1574-6941.2006.00113.x, 2006. 
Amo, M., Suzuki, N., Kawamura, H., Yamaguchi, A., Takano, Y., and Horiguchi, T.: Sterol composition of dinoflagellates: Different abundance and composition in heterotrophic species and resting cysts, Geochem. J., 44, 225–231, https://doi.org/10.2343/geochemj.1.0063, 2010. 
Anbar, A. D. and Knoll, A. H.: Proterozoic ocean chemistry and evolution: A bioinorganic bridge?, Science, 297, 1137–1142, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1069651, 2002. 
Arp, G., Reimer, A., and Reitner, J.: Calcification in cyanobacterial biofilms of alkaline salt lakes, Eur. J. Phycol., 34, 393–403, https://doi.org/10.1080/09670269910001736452, 1999. 
Arp, G., Helms, G., Karlinska, K., Schumann, G., Reimer, A., Reitner, J., and Trichet, J.: Photosynthesis versus Exopolymer Degradation in the Formation of Microbialites on the Atoll of Kiritimati, Republic of Kiribati, Central Pacific, Geomicrobiol. J., 29, 29–65, https://doi.org/10.1080/01490451.2010.521436, 2012. 
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Today, sterols are widespread in plants, animals, and fungi but are almost absent in the oldest rocks. Microbial mats, representing the earliest complex ecosystems on Earth, were omnipresent in Precambrian marine environments and may have degraded the sterols at that time. Here we analyze the distribution of sterols through a microbial mat. This provides insight into how variations in biological and nonbiological factors affect the preservation of sterols in modern and ancient microbial mats.
Today, sterols are widespread in plants, animals, and fungi but are almost absent in the oldest...
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