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How did the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis influence the temporal and spatial development of the microbial iron cycle on ancient Earth?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-166
Number of pages13
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Early online date16 Jul 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 15 Jul 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jul 2019
DatePublished (current) - 20 Aug 2019


Iron is the most abundant redox active metal on Earth and thus provides one of the most important records of the redox state of Earth's ancient atmosphere, oceans and landmasses over geological time. The most dramatic shifts in the Earth's iron cycle occurred during the oxidation of Earth's atmosphere. However, tracking the spatial and temporal development of the iron cycle is complicated by uncertainties about both the timing and location of the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis, and by the myriad of microbial processes that act to cycle iron between redox states. In this review, we piece together the geological evidence to assess where and when oxygenic photosynthesis likely evolved, and attempt to evaluate the influence of this innovation on the microbial iron cycle.

    Research areas

  • Cyanobacteria, Early Earth, Geomicrobiology, Iron biogeochemistry, Iron cycling


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