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On the co‐evolution of surface oxygen levels and animals

Abstract.

"Few topics in geobiology have been as extensively debated as the role of Earth's oxygenation in controlling when and why animals emerged and diversified. All currently described animals require oxygen for at least a portion of their life cycle. Therefore, the transition to an oxygenated planet was a prerequisite for the emergence of animals. Yet, our understanding of Earth's oxygenation and the environmental requirements of animal habitability and ecological success is currently limited; estimates for the timing of the appearance of environments sufficiently oxygenated to support ecologically stable populations of animals span a wide range, from billions of years to only a few million years before animals appear in the fossil record. [...]"

Source: Geobiology
Authors: Devon B. Cole et al.
DOI: 10.1111/gbi.12382

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Millennial-scale variations in sedimentary oxygenation in the western subtropical North Pacific and its links to North Atlantic climate

Abstract.

"The deep-ocean carbon cycle, especially carbon sequestration and outgassing, is one of the mechanisms to explain variations in atmospheric CO2 concentrations on millennial and orbital timescales. However, the potential role of subtropical North Pacific subsurface waters in modulating atmospheric CO2 levels on millennial timescales is poorly constrained. An increase in the respired CO2 concentration in the glacial deep-ocean due to biological pump generally corresponds to deoxygenation in the ocean interior. [...]"

Source: Climate of the Past
Authors: Jianjun Zou et al.
DOI: 10.5194/cp-16-387-2020

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Post-depositional manganese mobilization during the last glacial period in sediments of the eastern Clarion-Clipperton Zone, Pacific Ocean

Abstract.

"Numerous studies have provided compelling evidence that the Pacific Ocean has experienced substantial glacial/interglacial changes in bottom-water oxygenation associated with enhanced carbon dioxide storage in the glacial deep ocean. Under postulated low glacial bottom-water oxygen concentrations (O2bw), redox zonation, biogeochemical processes and element fluxes in the sediments must have been distinctively different during the last glacial period (LGP) compared to current well-oxygenated conditions. [...]"

Source: Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Authors: Jessica B.Volz et al.
DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2019.116012

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Stepwise Earth oxygenation is an inherent property of global biogeochemical cycling

Abstract.

"Oxygenation of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans occurred across three major steps during the Paleoproterozoic, Neoproterozoic, and Paleozoic eras, with each increase having profound consequences for the biosphere. Biological or tectonic revolutions have been proposed to explain each of these stepwise increases in oxygen, but the principal driver of each event remains unclear. Here we show, using a theoretical model, that the observed oxygenation steps are a simple consequence of internal feedbacks in the long-term biogeochemical cycles of carbon, oxygen, and phosphorus, and that there is no requirement for a specific stepwise external forcing to explain the course of Earth surface oxygenation. [...]"

Source: Science
Authors: Lewis J. Alcott et al.
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax6459

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Anoxygenic photosynthesis and the delayed oxygenation of Earth’s atmosphere

Abstract.

"The emergence of oxygenic photosynthesis created a new niche with dramatic potential to transform energy flow through Earth’s biosphere. However, more primitive forms of photosynthesis that fix CO2 into biomass using electrons from reduced species like Fe(II) and H2 instead of water would have competed with Earth’s early oxygenic biosphere for essential nutrients. [...]"

Source: Nature Communications
Authors: Kazumi Ozaki et al.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-10872-z

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Neoproterozoic to early Phanerozoic rise in island arc redox state due to deep ocean oxygenation and increased marine sulfate levels

Abstract.

"A rise in atmospheric O2 levels between 800 and 400 Ma is thought to have oxygenated the deep oceans, ushered in modern biogeochemical cycles, and led to the diversification of animals. Over the same time interval, marine sulfate concentrations are also thought to have increased to near-modern levels. We present compiled data that indicate Phanerozoic island arc igneous rocks are more oxidized (Fe3+/ΣFe ratios are elevated by 0.12) vs. Precambrian equivalents. [...]"

Source: PNAS
Authors: Daniel A. Stolper and Claire E. Bucholz
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1821847116

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Limited oxygen production in the Mesoarchean ocean

Abstract.

"The Archean Eon was a time of predominantly anoxic Earth surface conditions, where anaerobic processes controlled bioessential element cycles. In contrast to “oxygen oases” well documented for the Neoarchean [2.8 to 2.5 billion years ago (Ga)], the magnitude, spatial extent, and underlying causes of possible Mesoarchean (3.2 to 2.8 Ga) surface-ocean oxygenation remain controversial. [...]"

Source: PNAS
Authors: Frantz Ossa Ossa et al.
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1818762116

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Earth's oxygen increased in gradual steps rather than big bursts

"A carbon cycle anomaly discovered in carbonate rocks of the Neoproterozoic Hüttenberg Formation of north-eastern Namibia follows a pattern similar to that found right after the Great Oxygenation Event, hinting at new evidence for how Earth's atmosphere became fully oxygenated.

By using the Hüttenberg Formation, which formed between a billion and half a billion years ago, to study the time between Earth's change from an anoxic environment (i.e. one lacking oxygen) to a more hospitable environment that heralded the animal kingdom, a team of researchers led by Dr. Huan Cui of the NASA Astrobiology Institute at the University of Wisconsin–Madison discovered a sustained, high level of carbon. This influx of carbon, coupled with changes in other elements, indicates how changing levels of oceanic oxygen may have lent a helping hand to early animal evolution. [...]"

Source: Phys.org

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Marine redox fluctuation as a potential trigger for the Cambrian explosion

Abstract.

The diversification of metazoans during the latest Neoproterozoic and early Cambrian has been attributed to, among other factors, a progressive rise in surface oxygen levels. However, recent results have also questioned the idea of a prominent rise in atmospheric oxygen levels or a major or unidirectional shift in the marine redox landscape across this interval. Here, we present new carbonate-associated uranium isotope data from upper Ediacaran to lower Cambrian marine carbonate successions. [...]"

Source: Geology
Authors: Guang-Yi Wei et al.
DOI: 10.1130/G40150.1

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Stepwise oxygenation of early Cambrian ocean controls early metazoan diversification

Abstract.

"The Ediacaran–Cambrian transition is a critical period in Earth history, during which both marine environment and life experienced drastic changes. It was suggested that pervasive oxygenation and associated chemical changes in the ocean have potentially triggered the rapid diversification of early Cambrian metazoans. The timing and process of ocean oxygenation, however, have not been well constrained. [...]"

Source: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Authors: Xiangkuan Zhao et al.
DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.05.009

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