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Blooming of a microbial community in an Ediacaran extreme volcanic lake system

Chraiki, Ibtissam, Chi Fru, Ernest ORCID:, Somogyi, Andrea, Bouougri, El Hafid, Bankole, Olabode, Ghnahalla, Mohamed and El Albani, Abderrazak 2023. Blooming of a microbial community in an Ediacaran extreme volcanic lake system. Scientific Reports 13 , 9080. 10.1038/s41598-023-36031-5

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Ancient aquatic sediments are critical archives for studying early microbial life and the types of environments in which they thrived. The recently characterized Amane Tazgart microbialites in the Anti-Atlas, Morocco, are a rare and well-preserved non-marine deposit that evolved in an alkaline volcanic lake setting during the Ediacaran Period. A multiproxy geochemical toolbox reveals evidence pointing to spatio-temporal ecosystem organization and succession related to changing lake water chemistry. This is marked by secular transition from a cold/dry climate, hypersaline alkaline thermophilic and anoxic–oxic community, to a stable state warm/wet climate fully oxygenated fresh to brackish water ecosystem, predominated by oxygenic stromatolites. Extreme dissolved Arsenic concentrations suggest that these polyextremophiles required robust detoxification mechanisms to circumvent arsenic toxicity and phosphate deficiency. We propose that self-sustaining and versatile anoxic to oxic microbial ecosystems thrived in aquatic continental settings during the Ediacaran Period, when complex life co-evolved with a rise in atmospheric oxygen content.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: Nature Research
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 June 2023
Date of Acceptance: 27 May 2023
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2023 00:54

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