algal mat

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A sheet-like accumulation of cyanobacteria (‘blue-green algae’) that develops in shallow marine subtidal to supratidal environments, as well as in lakes and swamps. The cyanobacteria cover the sediment surface and themselves trap sediment to produce a laminated alternation of dark, organic-rich algal layers and organic-poor sediment layers. See also stromatolite.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation — Earth Sciences and Geography.

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