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By Getmantsev Cosmic rays Sov.

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This cyanobacterial species forms a very coherent, carpet-like network embedded in EPS. In epoxy-hardened thin-sections, this microorganism and its EPS occupies 37% of the total sediment volume. The values range from 5–88% of total sediment volume, (Fig. 13f). It is characteristic for M. chthonoplastes to secrete large amounts of EPS. EPS protect microbes against rapid changes in osmotic pressure caused by the highly variable salinities in the supratidal zone. For example, after a week of intense sunshine the salinity of the sediment is high.

The top layer of this stack is formed by cyanobacteria. They are primary producers assembling organic material using sun light by photosynthesis. Organic substance of deceased primary producers is gradually decomposed by heterotrophic microbes. These heterotrophic prokaryotes establish directly beneath the cyanobacteria layer. Chemoorganotrophic bacteria deconstruct large biomolecules deriving from deceased cyanobacteria and EPS into simpler chemical compounds. By cracking large biomolecules, the prokaryotes release the energy of the binding forces that hold the biomolecules together.

The base of the core documents a lower intertidal zone: ripple cross bedding and shell debris record strong reworking of the sands by currents. The middle portion of the core records an upper intertidal zone: planar laminated sand records gently ascending and descending tidal currents. The top of the core represents the present, lower supratidal zone. Note the thick, planar mat layers. Overall, the sediment core records a regressive shoreline. Over time the sea level was falling. The core shows an area once situated in a lower intertidal zone.

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