Late inception of a resiliently oxygenated upper ocean

Wanyi Lu, Andy Ridgwell, Ellen Thomas, Dalton S. Hardisty, Genming Luo, Thomas J. Algeo, Matthew R. Saltzman, Benjamin C. Gill, Yanan Shen, Hong Fei Ling, Cole T. Edwards, Michael T. Whalen, Xiaoli Zhou, Kristina M. Gutchess, Li Jin, Rosalind E.M. Rickaby, Hugh C. Jenkyns, Timothy W. Lyons, Timothy M. Lenton, Lee R. KumpZunli Lu*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Rising oceanic and atmospheric oxygen levels through time have been crucial to enhanced habitability of surface Earth environments. Few redox proxies can track secular variations in dissolved oxygen concentrations ([O2]) around threshold levels for metazoan survival in the upper ocean. We present an extensive compilation of iodine to calcium ratios (I/Ca) in marine carbonates. Our record supports a major rise in atmospheric pO2 at ~400 million years ago (Ma), and reveals a step-change in the oxygenation of the upper ocean to relatively sustainable near-modern conditions at ~200 Ma. An Earth system model demonstrates that a shift in organic matter remineralization to greater depths, which may have been due to increasing size and biomineralization of eukaryotic plankton, likely drove the I/Ca signals at ~200 Ma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-177
Number of pages7
JournalScience
Volume361
Issue number6398
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2018

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Lu, W., Ridgwell, A., Thomas, E., Hardisty, D. S., Luo, G., Algeo, T. J., Saltzman, M. R., Gill, B. C., Shen, Y., Ling, H. F., Edwards, C. T., Whalen, M. T., Zhou, X., Gutchess, K. M., Jin, L., Rickaby, R. E. M., Jenkyns, H. C., Lyons, T. W., Lenton, T. M., ... Lu, Z. (2018). Late inception of a resiliently oxygenated upper ocean. Science, 361(6398), 174-177. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aar5372