Science Song of the Week #53: Cyanobacteria

Photosynthesis conducted by cyanobacteria is thought to have been important in adding oxygen to the earth’s environment billions of years ago. A new study suggests that early animals, who came on the scene much later, might have found cyanobacteria-containing microbial mats especially useful as a source of oxygen.

Animals living more than 550 million years ago could have survived inhospitable oceans by associating with dense mounds of cyanobacteria called microbial mats, an international team of researchers argues in a new study. Such clumps of oxygen-producing gunk could have supplied the first mobile animals with food to eat and air to breathe, the group reports online May 15 in Nature Geoscience.

I don’t know of any outstanding microbial mat songs, but I did find a decent one (made by a college student) about lichens, which also can include cyanobacteria and other organisms (fungi, in this case) that are dependent on them.

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