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Cuatro Cienegas 2

Image of Cuatro Cienegas 2
LIFE IN THE DESERT: The biological reserve of Cuatro Ciénegas (English translation: “Four Marshes”) is located in the Región Desierto of the Mexican state of Coahuila. The reserve protects small, pool-based ecosystems with unique water chemistries, many of which are home to living stromatolites. These are complex communities of microorganisms which, as they grow, incorporate sediments and sand from the water to create rocky, dome-shaped structures—several can be seen in the foreground of this image. These same microorganisms populated much of the early Earth. About two billion years ago, they pumped oxygen into the atmosphere through photosynthesis, contributing to an environment hospitable to complex life, like we humans! Image Credit: Luis Eguiarte
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