Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve

Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve

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Credit: PHIL HILL/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve, Shark Bay, Western Australia. This area is famous for its stromatolites, mineralised microbial communities formed from cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). They are formed over thousands of years as the cyanobacteria trap detritus and sediment, forming large living rafts known as microbial mats. The cyanobacteria also secrete calcium carbonate, which causes the mats to mineralise, forming rock-like structures. Stromatolites are known as living fossils, because the process of mat formation and mineralisation continues today.

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