Linking Palynology with Geomicrobial Data in Modern Acidic and Neutral Hypersaline Lakes of Western Australia: Preliminary Field Observations


Palynological studies of sediments in extreme environments are uncommon. Modern acidic and neutral hypersaline lakes in Western Australia present a unique opportunity to integrate palynology into a comprehensive biogeochemical study.

The overall objectives of this multidisciplinary study are to determine if evaporites truly trap a representative population of microorganisms, to use the microbial populations as analogues for ancient and possibly extraterrestrial evaporites, and to interpret past water chemistries and climates.

Fieldwork in June-July 2005 consisted of evaluating the sedimentology, water geochemistry, palynology, and microbial activity in and around 22 lakes. The lakes are ephemeral, have pHs ranging from 2.5 to 8.2, and precipitate halite and/or gypsum in siliciclastic-hosted sediments. The sedimentology and mineralogy of some of the lakes are similar to images and data recently collected by NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers. Palynomorphs and palynofacies will be used to investigate the vegetation, climatic and environmental changes associated with the ephemeral nature of the lakes.

Meeting Name

38th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologists (2005: Sep. 18-22, St. Louis, MO)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Second Department

Biological Sciences

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0191-6122; 1558-9188

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2006 Taylor & Francis, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2006