Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Respect for stromatolites

Is it time to stop worrying over whether the ancient structures called stromatolites are of microbial origin? ‘Yes’ is the answer to emerge from field and lab work on a 3,430-million-year-old marine ecosystem.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Structure in the Strelley Pool Chert, Western Australia.


Figure 2: Cutting through the complexities of stromatolites.



  1. 1

    Canfield, D. E. Nature 440, 426–427 (2006).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Allwood, A. C., Walter, M. R., Kamber, B. S., Marshall, C. P. & Burch, I. W. Nature 441, 714–718 (2006).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Riding, R. Lethaia 32, 321–330 (1999).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Grotzinger, J. P. & Rothman, D. H. Nature 383, 423–425 (1996).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Awramik, S. M. & Grey, K. Proc. SPIE 5906, 59060P1–5906P9; doi:10.1117/12.625556 (2005).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Brasier, M., Green, O., Lindsay, J. & Steele, A. Origins Life Evol. Biosphere 34, 257–269 (2004).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Lowe, D. R. Nature 284, 441–443 (1980).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Hofmann, H. J., Grey, K., Hickman, A. H. & Thorpe, R. I. Geol. Soc. Am. Bull. 111, 1256–1262 (1999).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Loucks, R. G. & Sarg, J. F. (eds) Carbonate Sequence Stratigraphy (Am. Assoc. Petrol. Geol., Mem. 57, 1993).

  10. 10

    Grotzinger, J. P. & James, N. P. (eds) Carbonate Sedimentation and Diagenesis in the Evolving Precambrian World (Soc. Econ. Geol. Paleontol., Spec. Publ. 67, 2000).

  11. 11

    Batchelor, M. T., Burne, R. V., Henry, B. I. & Slatyer, T. Physica A 350, 6–11 (2005).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Walter, M. R., Bauld, J. & Brock, T. D. in Stromatolites (ed. Walter, M. R.) 273–310 (Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1976).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Hofmann, H. J. in Microbial Sediments (eds Riding, R. & Awramik, S. M.) 315–327 (Springer, Berlin, 2000).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Lindsay, J. F. et al. Precamb. Res. 143, 1–22 (2005).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Tice, M. M. & Lowe, D. R. Nature 431, 549–552 (2004).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Awramik, S. Respect for stromatolites. Nature 441, 700–701 (2006).

Download citation

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing