Modern burrowing organisms feed on microbial organic matter in matgrounds near hot springs on the margins of Lake Bogoria, a saline alkaline lake in the Kenya Rift Valley. The burrowers produce a low-diversity trace assemblage similar to those produced by undermat miners during the Ediacaran–Cambrian transition. Despite obvious differences in body plans and phylogenetic affinities, these modern animals feed on microbes in similar ways to those inferred for primitive bilaterians. With increasing distance from hot-spring vents, outflow channels and adjacent matgrounds, the diversity and depth of the traces increase and mixgrounds become dominant. This modern extreme environment gives clues for interpreting the heterogeneous early Cambrian seafloor, with: (1) the restriction of ‘pre-agronomic revolution’ matground substrates; and (2) expansion of adjacent ‘post-agronomic revolution’ mixground areas.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- hot spring
- microbial mat
- saline lake