Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Explosion In Marine Biodiversity Explained By Climate Change

Date:
July 28, 2008
Source:
CNRS
Summary:
A global change in climate could explain the explosion in marine biodiversity that took place 460 million years ago. Researchers have now found evidence of a progressive ocean cooling of about 15°C over a period of 40 million years during the Ordovician. Until now, this geologic period had been associated with a "super greenhouse effect" on our planet.

Fossil of a primitive eel called a conodont.
Credit: Copyright Arlette Armand -- from scanning electron microscope in the Laboratory of Paleoenvironments and Paleobiosphere

A global change in climate could explain the explosion in marine biodiversity that took place 460 million years ago. Researchers from Lyon (1) and Canberra (Australia) (2) have found evidence of a progressive ocean cooling of about 15°C over a period of 40 million years during the Ordovician (3). Until now, this geologic period had been associated with a "super greenhouse effect" on our planet.

The results from this study were published in the July 25, 2008 issue of the journal Science.

The researchers found that marine water at the beginning of the Ordovician (480 million years ago) was very warm (around 45°C), too warm for complex living organisms to develop. The temperature measurements were obtained from fossils of primitive eels called conodonts, whose geologic age was known by the researchers. They analyzed a mineral found in these eels' skeleton for changes in the ratio of two oxygen isotopes, which is dependent on the temperature of the ocean water in which the animals lived. The early Ordovician was a time when our planet's atmosphere was still very rich in CO2, causing a strong greenhouse effect and therefore very high ocean temperatures.

The progressive ocean cooling coincided with an explosion in marine biomass and biodiversity (the number of genera and families jumped by a factor of three to four). This event took place during the Upper Ordovician, around 460 million years ago, when ocean temperatures became comparable to those of present day equatorial waters. Not only did marine animals diversify, but their range also spread to the seafloor, and the first coral reefs appeared.

The cooling of the oceans was coupled with atmospheric cooling, indicating that a global change in climate took place. This could have played a major role in the unprecedented increase in biodiversity seen in the Ordovician, which opened the modern era of diversity and complexity.

Notes:

(1) INSU-CNRS Laboratoire PaléoEnvironnements et PaléobioSphère (CNRS, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1).

(2) Australian National University.

(3) Geologic period extending from 490 to 440 million years ago.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CNRS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Julie A. Trotter, Ian S. Williams, Christopher R. Barnes, Christophe Lécuyer, Robert S. Nicoll. Did Cooling Oceans Trigger Ordovician Biodiversification? Evidence from Conodont Thermometry. Science, 2008; 321 (5888): 550 DOI: 10.1126/science.1155814

Cite This Page:

CNRS. "Explosion In Marine Biodiversity Explained By Climate Change." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080727225420.htm>.
CNRS. (2008, July 28). Explosion In Marine Biodiversity Explained By Climate Change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080727225420.htm
CNRS. "Explosion In Marine Biodiversity Explained By Climate Change." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080727225420.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Did Neanderthals Play Tic-Tac-Toe?

Did Neanderthals Play Tic-Tac-Toe?

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — Artwork found in a Gibraltar cave that was possibly done by Neanderthals suggests they may have been smarter than we all thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Millions Of Historical Public Domain Photos Added To Flickr

Millions Of Historical Public Domain Photos Added To Flickr

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — Historian Kalev Leetaru uploaded a large collection of historical photos, images that were previously difficult to collect. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — An international team uncovered a large ancient wine celler that likely belonged to a Cannonite ruler. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins