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.

  • News & Views
  • Published:


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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

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


Figure 2: Cutting through the complexities of stromatolites.



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

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

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

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

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

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

    Book  Google Scholar 

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

    Book  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 


Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

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

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


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