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The microbe–mineral environment and gypsum neogenesis in a weathered polar evaporite

Cockell, C. S.; Osinski, G. R.; Banerjee, N. R.; Howard, K. T.; Gilmour, I. and Watson, J. S. (2010). The microbe–mineral environment and gypsum neogenesis in a weathered polar evaporite. Geobiology, 8(4) pp. 293–308.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1472-4669.2010.00240.x
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Abstract

Evaporitic deposits are a globally widespread habitat for micro-organisms. The microbe–mineral environment in weathered and remobilized gypsum from exposed mid-Ordovician marine evaporite beds in the polar desert of Devon Island, Nunavut, Canadian High Arctic was examined. The gypsum is characterized by internal green zones of cyanobacterial colonization (dominated by Gloeocapsa/Aphanothece and Chroococcidiopsis spp. morphotypes) and abundant black zones, visible from the surface, that contain pigmented cyanobacteria and fungi. Bioessential elements in the gypsum are primarily provided by allochthonous material from the present-day polar desert. The disruption, uplift and rotation of the evaporite beds by the Haughton meteorite impact 39 Ma have facilitated gypsum weathering and its accessibility as a habitat. No cultured cyanobacteria, bacteria and fungi were halophilic consistent with the expectation that halophily is not required to persist in gypsum habitats. Heterotrophic bacteria from the evaporite were slightly or moderately halotolerant, as were heterotrophs isolated from soil near the gypsum outcrop showing that halotolerance is common in arctic bacteria in this location. Psychrotolerant Arthrobacter species were isolated. No psychrophilic organisms were isolated. Two Arthrobacter isolates from the evaporite were used to mediate gypsum neogenesis in the laboratory, demonstrating a potential role for microbial biomineralization processes in polar environments.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN: 1472-4669
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Physical Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 23256
Depositing User: Jonathan Watson
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2010 13:41
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 09:40
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/23256
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