New Publication in Chemical Geology Investigates the Evolution of Microbial Habitats under Extreme Environmental Changes during the Badenian Salinity Crisis


A new study from Viemann et al. with Thilo Hofmann and Nathalie Tepe from EDGE investigates the evolution of microbial habitats under extreme environmental changes during the Badenian Salinity Crisis. We here present the first geochemical data for Badenian stromatolites and show in a combined approach using major, trace element, and C – O isotope compositions obtained in individual stromatolitic carbonate laminae that short-term variations of palaeo-environmental conditions within the Oberpullendorf Basin coincide with individual microbialite morphologies. Enrichment factors of bio-essential trace elements that are either used as co-factors in metalloenzymes or metal-activated enzymes in biochemical reactions can be directly linked to the reconstructed environmental conditions: Sufficient element availability is ensured during marine conditions in the lower and uppermost stratigraphic sections; in contrast, continuous decreasing element availability of these elements is directly related to the temporary development of a (semi)closed lagoon.