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A quantitative approach to sedimentary surface structures contoured by the interplay of microbial colonization and physical dynamics
Noffke, N.; Krumbein, W.E. (1999). A quantitative approach to sedimentary surface structures contoured by the interplay of microbial colonization and physical dynamics. Sedimentology 46(3): 417-426. hdl.handle.net/10.1046/j.1365-3091.1999.00218.x
In: Sedimentology. Wiley-Blackwell: Amsterdam. ISSN 0037-0746, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keyword
    Marine
Author keywords
    Benthic cyanobacteria; microbially induced sedimentary structures; quantification of microbial influence; Recent siliciclastic tidal flats

Authors  Top 
  • Noffke, N.
  • Krumbein, W.E.

Abstract
    In the tidal flats of Mellum Island (southern North Sea), biofilms and microbial mats, generated largely by cyanobacteria, colonize the sedimentary surfaces. Biostabilization effects and biomass enrichment influence erosional and depositional dynamics resulting from tidal flushing and storm surges. The overlapping of both biological and physical forces causes the development of characteristic sedimentary structures. To obtain a quantitative expression of the degree of effectiveness of microbial colonization in the formation of structures in an extended tidal area, a modification index (MOD-I) was developed based on the following values: (i) the proportion of mat-covered area related to a defined investigation area (IA); (ii) the degree of steepness of slope angles of raised erosional remnants (IS); and (iii) the degree of microbial levelling of a rippled sedimentary surface (IN). The MOD-I was calculated for several defined regions within the study area, and both winter and summer situations were considered. The MOD-I values show, first, that the lower intertidal zone is characterized by index values approaching zero. This implies that microbially induced effects in this zone are negligible, even in summer. Second, the upper intertidal zone is characterized by lower index values in winter and relatively high values in summer. This implies a predominantly seasonal control on the biofilm development in this zone. Third, in the lower supratidal zone, the index values are almost identical during both winter and summer. This implies non-seasonal biological effects in this zone. Concomitant empirical studies on the composition of microbial mats and films suggest that the dominant microbial type influences the MOD-I value.

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