UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Pavilion Lake Microbialites: Morphological, Molecular and Biochemical Evidence for a Cold-Water Transition to Colonial Aggregates Schulze-Makuch, Dirk; Lim, Darlene; Laval, Bernard; Turse, Carol; António, Marina Resendes de Sousa; Chan, Olivia; Pointing, Stephen B.; Brady, Allyson; Reid, Donnie; Irwin, Louis N.


The presence of microbialite structures in a freshwater, dimictic mid-latitudelake and their establishment after the last ice age about 10,000 years ago is puzzling.Freshwater calcite microbialites at Pavilion Lake, British Columbia, Canada, consist of acomplex community of microorganisms that collectively form large, ordered structuredaggregates. This distinctive assemblage of freshwater calcite microbialites was studied through standard microbial methods, morphological observations, phospholipid fatty acid(PLFA) analysis, DNA sequencing and the identification of quorum sensing molecules.Our results suggest that the microbialites may represent a transitional form from theexclusively prokaryotic colonial precursors of stromatolites to the multicellular organismicaggregates that give rise to coral reefs.

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