Stromatolites or stromatoliths are layered mounds and sheet-like sedimentary rocks that were formed by the growth of layer upon layer of cyanobacteria, a single-celled photosynthesizing microbe. Fossilized stromatolites provide records of ancient life on Earth. Lichen stromatolites are a proposed mechanism of formation of some kinds of layered rock structure that are formed above water, where rock meets air, by repeated colonization of the rock by endolithic lichens. Stromatolites are layered bio-chemical accretionary structures formed in shallow water by the trapping and cementation of sedimentary grains by biofilms of microorganisms cyanobacteria, they exhibit a variety of forms and structures, or morphologies, including conical, branching and columnar types. Stromatolites occur in the fossil record of the Precambrian, but are rare today. Few ancient stromatolites contain fossilized microbes. While features of some stromatolites are suggestive of biological activity, others possess features that are more consistent with abiotic precipitation.

Finding reliable ways to distinguish between biologically formed and abiotic stromatolites is an active area of research in geology. Time lapse photography of modern microbial mat formation in a laboratory setting gives some revealing clues to the behavior of cyanobacteria in stromatolites. Biddanda et al. found that cyanobacteria exposed to localized beams of light moved towards the light, or expressed phototaxis, increased their photosynthetic yield, necessary for survival. In a novel experiment, the scientists projected a school logo onto a petri dish containing the organisms, which accreted beneath the lighted region, forming the logo in bacteria; the authors speculate that such motility allows the cyanobacteria to seek light sources to support the colony. In both light and dark conditions, the cyanobacteria form clumps that expand outwards, with individual members remaining connected to the colony via long tendrils; this may be a protective mechanism that affords evolutionary benefit to the colony in harsh environments where mechanical forces act to tear apart the microbial mats.

Thus these sometimes elaborate structures, constructed by microscopic organisms working somewhat in unison, are a means of providing shelter and protection from a harsh environment. Some Archean rock formations show macroscopic similarity to modern microbial structures, leading to the inference that these structures represent evidence of ancient life, namely stromatolites. However, others regard these patterns as being due to natural material deposition or some other abiogenic mechanism. Scientists have argued for a biological origin of stromatolites due to the presence of organic globule clusters within the thin layers of the stromatolites, of aragonite nanocrystals, because of the persistence of an inferred biological signal through changing environmental circumstances. Stromatolites are a major constituent of the fossil record of the first forms of life on earth, they peaked about 1.25 billion years ago and subsequently declined in abundance and diversity, so that by the start of the Cambrian they had fallen to 20% of their peak.

The most supported explanation is that stromatolite builders fell victim to grazing creatures. Another hypothesis is. Proterozoic stromatolite microfossils include cyanobacteria and some forms of the eukaryote chlorophytes. One genus of stromatolite common in the geologic record is Collenia; the connection between grazer and stromatolite abundance is well documented in the younger Ordovician evolutionary radiation. Fluctuations in metazoan population and diversity may not have been the only factor in the reduction in stromatolite abundance. Factors such as the chemistry of the environment may have been responsible for changes. While prokaryotic cyanobacteria reproduce asexually through cell division, they were instrumental in priming the environment for the evolutionary development of more complex eukaryotic organisms. Cyanobacteria are thought to be responsible for increasing the amount of oxygen in the primeval earth's atmosphere through their continuing photosynthesis. Cyanobacteria use water, carbon dioxide, sunlight to create their food.

A layer of mucus forms over mats of cyanobacterial cells. In modern microbial mats, debris from the surrounding habitat can become trapped within the mucus, which can be cemented together by the calcium carbonate to grow thin laminations of limestone; these laminations can accrete over time. The domal morphology of biological stromatolites is the result of the vertical growth necessary for the continued infiltration of sunlight to the organisms for photosynthesis. Layered spherical growth structures termed oncolites are similar to stromatolites and are known from the fossil record. Thrombolites are poorly laminated or non-laminated clotted structures formed by cyanobacteria, common in the fossil record and in modern sediments; the Zebra River Canyon area of the Kubis platform in the dissected Zaris Mountains of south

James Smith (priest)

James Smith was a clergyman who became Archdeacon of Barnstaple in 1660. He was much admired for his wit, collections of his satirical verse were published in the 1650s. Smith was the son of Thomas, the rector of Marston Moretaine, who owned land in three counties, he matriculated at Oxford in 1622–23. He was awarded the degree of D. D. in 1661. Smith was navy chaplain to Admiral Henry, earl of Holland and domestic chaplain to Thomas, earl of Cleveland, he was rector of Wainfleet All Saints, Lincolnshire in 1634 and of Kings Nympton, Devon from 1639 to 1662. He was collated archdeacon of Barnstaple in 1660, resigning to become precentor of Exeter cathedral and a canon of Exeter in 1662, he had been granted the title Doctor of Divinity in 1661. He was rector of Alphington, Devon in 1662 and of Exminster, Devon in 1664. Smith was buried in the chancel of Kings Nympton church. Smith was much admired by the "poetical wits" of the day. Philip Massinger is said to have referred to him as his son, he was friendly with William Davenant.

He wrote satirical poetry, published in a collection entitled Musarum Deliciæ or the Muses's Recreation, in 1656. Smith's verses appear to have been written for amusement in correspondence with Sir John Mennis, whose replies were included. Both were satirical in tone; the publisher, Henry Herringman, stated that the poems had been collected by him from "Sir John Mennis and Dr. Smith's drolish intercourses." Another anthology called Wit Restored was published in 1658. This contains verse letters from Smith to Mennis, "then commanding a troop of horse against the Scots." Another piece was written to Mennis "on the Surrender of Conway Castle." Smith wrote sacred anthems which were sung at Exeter in his day

Swansea Grand Theatre

Swansea Grand Theatre is a performing arts venue in the centre of Swansea, Wales. The theatre stages plays and touring theatrical acts visiting Swansea. Swansea Grand Theatre was the base for the UK's only Russian ballet company, the Swansea Ballet Russe; the theatre opened in 1897. Erected on the site of the former'Drill Hall' it was designed for proprietors H H Morell and F Mouillot by architect William Hope of Newcastle, built by D Jenkins and opened by Madame Adelina Patti - a locally resident operatic diva. In 1968, the Swansea Grand was threatened with closure but, following a campaign led by its manager and artistic director John Chilvers, the theatre was saved; the Swansea Corporation leased the building in May 1969 and bought it outright in 1979. The theatre was refurbished and updated between 1983 and 1987 at a cost of £6.5m. A further £1m was spent on an Arts Wing which opened in 1999; the City and County of Swansea continues to own and fund the building today. Swansea Grand Theatre has a 1,014 - seat variety of smaller studios and rooms.

The Arts Wing is the most recent development at the theatre, a space to host exhibitions and smaller-scale music and drama performances. These include Lunchtime Theatre on the last Saturday of each month, presented by Fluellen Theatre Company, a regular burlesque night presented by The Blue Stocking Lounge, a regular comedy club featuring acts on the comedy circuit. Since September 1999, the Ballet Russe known as Swansea's Pavlov Ballet, has been based at the Swansea Grand Theatre; the company, which started in Bristol, is a group of young dancers, most whom trained in Russia at the Bolshoi and Kirov academies. They work as an ensemble under the artistic leadership of the Messerer family, are able to put on full-length performances of Giselle, The Nutcracker, Coppélia, La Fille Mal Gardée and Swan Lake, give gala performances including extracts from Bayadere, Carnival of Venice, Don Quixote and Le Corsaire. Swansea Grand Theatre is home to the Sir Harry Secombe Trust Youth Theatre, Fluellen Theatre Company, the Swansea Grand Theatre School of Dance and Mellin Theatre Arts, which hold classes and workshops at the venue.

Swansea Grand Theatre Fluellen Theatre Company