Lower Cambrian shallow-water carbonates enclosing microbial structures are documented for the first time from the upper Lastours Member of the Montagne Noire (southern France). Microbial organisms constructed self-supported boundstones resulting in the formation of exclusively microbial-accreted buildups, which exhibit three main types of non-skeletal microbialites: planar stratiform stromatolites, dome-shaped stromatolites and nonlaminated (thrombolitic) biostromes. In addition, thrombolitic boundstones display four distinct microbial microstructures: clotted and Renalcis-like forms, branching bushy forms, clusters of unbranching straight filaments and crustose forms.
The upper member of the Lastours Formation records an upward transition from a shalydominant open shelf to a protected shelf environment bounded by a surface representing a major subaerial exposure. Initially, at the inception of the highstand systems tract, flat stratiform stromatolites formed on open sea subtidal shaly substrates, while stacked domal stromatolites developed in peritidal areas which record subaerial exposure. In contrast, prograding shoal barriers of the transgressive systems tract favoured the establishment of thrombolitic boundstones in protected (back-shoal) environments.