Camoin Gilbert, Gautret P. (2006). Microbialites and microbial communities: Biological diversity, biogeochemical functioning, diagenetic processes, tracers of environmental changes. Sedimentary Geology, 185, p. 127-130.
This special issue is dedicated to microbialites and microbial communities and addresses their biological diversity, their biogeochemical functioning, their roles in diagenetic processes and their environmental significance. It is the logical successor of the special issue that one of us edited after the workshop on "Microbial mediation in carbonate diagenesis" which was held in Chichilianne (France) in 1997 (Camoin, G., Ed., 1999. Microbial mediation in carbonate diagenesis. Sedim. Geol., 126, 1-334). The following set of papers arose from a multidisciplinary international workshop entitled "Microbialites and microbial communities in sedimentary systems: biological diversity, biogeochemical functioning, diagenetic processes, tracers of environmental changes" that was held in Paris, France, in September 2004 (G. Camoin and P. Gautret, convenors). This meeting was sponsored by the French Geological Society (Société Géologique de France, SGF), the French Association of Sedimentologists (Association des Sédimentologistes Français, ASF) and the French National Program on Coastal Environments (Programme National Environnement Côtier, PNEC). The goals of this Workshop were: 1) to review the knowledge concerning modern and fossil microbial communities and microbialites that occur in various sedimentary environments (marine realm, thermal springs, lakes, rivers, deserts, karsts etc.), and 2) to establish a prospective regarding the research activities to be developed in various fields concerning the study of microbial communities and microbialites: their biological diversity, their biogeochemical functioning, their implication in the cycles of elements, the diagenetic processes that characterize these structures and the control exerted by environmental and climatic parameters both on their composition and their distribution in time and space. This Workshop has been attended by 70 participants from 11 countries (Belgium, France, Germany, United States, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland and United Kingdom) with diverse specialities (sedimentology, geochemistry, biology, biochemistry, oceanography, microbiology) and research interests (from Precambrian to modern environments and from natural settings to laboratory experimentation). 52 talks and several open discussions concerned the following interrelated topics, among many, on microbialites : their biological diversity, their biogeochemical functioning, their growth patterns and development, their environmental significance, and the microbial diagenesis and diagenetic processes in microbialites. The abstracts were assembled in a Special Publication of the Association of French Sedimentologists (Camoin and Gautret, Eds, 2004. Microbialites and microbial communities in sedimentary systems, A.S.F. Sp. Publ., 46).