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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Environmental factors affecting microbial mat distribution in Mo'orea, French Polynesia

  • Author(s): Minnameyer, Angela
  • et al.

Communities of photosynthetic prokaryotes are found around the world in a huge variety of locations, one of which is hypersaline mudflats. The estuary in Tamae, Mo’orea has been mostly filled in by a golf course and severely cut the population of microbial mats. Microbial mats in the Tamae mudflats in Mo’orea, French Polynesia were studied. Eight different morphologies were described and mapped. Additionally, their microhabitats described based on salinity, temperature, number of crab holes, and ground water depth and all but temperature saw certain significant differences. Transects were run from one end to another, and using the same environmental parameters, changes over the entire mudflat were observed. There were no trends with temperature. All of the other parameters exhibited trends and seem to have an influence over mat distribution, however there is not concrete evidence to support the claim that these are the factors that limit these microbial mat distributions. This ecosystem is very complex and it is probable that many more factors affect their distribution. If this habitat is to be conserved it will need to be studied more.

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