Encyclopedia of Geobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Joachim Reitner, Volker Thiel

Biofilms and Fossilization

  • Joachim Reitner
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9212-1_26


Carbonaceous bacterial biofilms; Hautschatten


Microbial biofilms cover normally in aquatic environments dead organisms and control partly the process of decay. The soft tissues of the body outline are preserved as a layered structure which comprises a carbonaceous microbial biofilm, in the literature often called “Hautschatten” (Figure 1). Fossils with soft part preservation are extremely rare, but under certain circumstances, like suboxic or anaerobic conditions, remains of their soft tissues with detailed histological fabrics are found. The evidence of non-biomineralized soft tissue normally degrading completely during decay is linked with special microbial processes. This exceptional preservation requires soft tissues to be replicated by authigenic minerals or pseudomorphed by bacterial biofilms (e.g., Wuttke, 1983; Toporski et al., 2002; Briggs, 2003). The different organs in many cases often exhibit different microbially controlled lithified biofilms with an...


Black Shale Organic Geochemistry Pyrite Framboids Dead Organism Body Outline 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim Reitner
    • 1
  1. 1.Geobiology Group Geoscience CenterUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany