Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Book chapters
DOI 10.1144/SP336.6
Title (Primary) Tufa-forming biofilms of German karstwater streams: microorganisms, exopolymers, hydrochemistry and calcification
Title (Secondary) Tufas and speleothems: Unravelling the microbial and physical controls
Author Arp, G.; Bisset, A.; Brinkmann, N.; Cousin, S.; de Beer, D.; Friedl, T.; Mohr, K.I.; Neu, T.R.; Reimer, A.; Shiraishi, F.; Stackebrandt, E.; Zippel, B.
Publisher Pedley, H.M.; Rogerson, M.
Journal Geological Society, London, Special Publications
Year 2010
Department FLOEK
Volume 336
Page From 83
Page To 118
Language englisch
Abstract To understand mechanisms of tufa biofilm calcification, selected karstwater stream stromatolites in Germany have been investigated with regard to their hydrochemistry, biofilm community, exopolymers, physicochemical microgradients, calcification pattern and lamination. In stream waters, CO2 degassing drives the increase in calcite saturation to maximum values of approximately 10-fold, independent from the initial Ca2+/alkalinity ratio. For the cyanobacteria of tufa biofilms, a culture-independent molecular approach showed that microscopy of resin-embedded biofilm thin sections underestimated the actual diversity of cyanobacteria, i.e. the six cyanobacteria morphotypes were opposed to nine different lineages of the 16S rDNA phylogeny. The same morphotype may even represent two genetically distant cyanobacteria and the closest relatives of tufa biofilm cyanobacteria may be from quite different habitats. Diatom diversity was even higher in the biofilm at the studied exemplar site than that of the cyanobacteria, i.e. 13 diatom species opposed to 9 cyanobacterial lineages. The non-phototrophic prokaryotic biofilm community is clearly different from the soil-derived community of the stream waters, and largely composed of flavobacteria, firmicutes, proteobacteria and actinobacteria. The exopolymeric biofilm matrix can be divided into three structural domains by fluorescence lectin-binding analysis. Seasonal and spatial variability of these structural EPS domains is low in the investigated streams. As indicated by microsensor data, biofilm photosynthesis is the driving mechanism in tufa stromatolite formation. However, photosynthesis-induced biofilm calcification accounts for only 10-20% of the total Ca2+ loss in the streams, and occurs in parallel to inorganic precipitation driven by CO2-degassing within the water column and on biofilm-free surfaces. Annual stromatolite laminae reflect seasonal changes in temperature and light supply. The stable carbon isotope composition of the laminae is not affected by photosynthesis-induced microgradients, but mirrors that of the bulk water body only reflecting climate fluctuations. Tufa stromatolites with their cyanobacterial-photosynthesis-related calcification fabrics form an analogue to porostromate cyanobacterial stromatolites in fossil settings high in CaCO3 mineral supersaturation but comparatively low in dissolved inorganic carbon. Here, the sum-effect of heterotrophic exopolymer-degradation and secondary Ca2+-release rather decreases calcite saturation, contrary to settings high in dissolved inorganic carbon such as soda lakes.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Arp, G., Bisset, A., Brinkmann, N., Cousin, S., de Beer, D., Friedl, T., Mohr, K.I., Neu, T.R., Reimer, A., Shiraishi, F., Stackebrandt, E., Zippel, B. (2010):
Tufa-forming biofilms of German karstwater streams: microorganisms, exopolymers, hydrochemistry and calcification
In: Pedley, H.M., Rogerson, M. (eds.)
Tufas and speleothems: Unravelling the microbial and physical controls
Geological Society, London, Special Publications 336
Geological Society Publ. House, London, p. 83 - 118