Oxygenation of the ocean and the Mesozoic Marine Revolution

18 July 2018, 1.00 PM - 18 July 2018, 2.00 PM

Hepple Lecture Theatre, Geographical Sciences Building

The BRIDGE group are hosting a Geography Departmental Seminar next week by Ros Rickaby, Professor of Biogeochemistry, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford.

Note: This event is open only to University of Bristol staff and students.


Around 200 million years ago, the entire ocean biota was transformed in terms of its micro and macroscopic inhabitants. A consistent story emerges from fossils, molecular biomarkers, and molecular clocks for individual clades, that the modern chlorophyll a and c phytoplankton of the red algal lineage, took over the ocean in the Mesozoic. With their mineralising skeletons, and large cellular size, the sudden power in the biological pump of carbon and nutrients from the surface ocean to the deep had ramifications throughout the ecosystem. Macrofauna became burrowing, ornamented, and motile, employing any defensive strategy to escape the new onslaught of ferocious predation. Here I shall explore the drivers of this transformation in terms of increasing oxygenation of the ocean, and evolving photosynthesis.

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