Navigation Links
Recovering from a mass extinction
Date:1/18/2008

The full recovery of ecological systems, following the most devastating extinction event of all time, took at least 30 million years, according to new research from the University of Bristol.

About 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian, a major extinction event killed over 90 per cent of life on earth, including insects, plants, marine animals, amphibians, and reptiles. Ecosystems were destroyed worldwide, communities were restructured and organisms were left struggling to recover. This was the nearest life ever came to being completely wiped out.

Previous work indicates that life bounced back quite quickly, but this was mostly in the form of disaster taxa (opportunistic organisms that filled the empty ecospace left behind by the extinction), such as the hardy Lystrosaurus, a barrel-chested herbivorous animal, about the size of a pig.

The most recent research, conducted by Sarda Sahney and Professor Michael Benton at the University of Bristol and published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B this week, indicates that specialised animals forming complex ecosystems, with high biodiversity, complex food webs and a variety of niches, took much longer to recover.

Sahney said: Our research shows that after a major ecological crisis, recovery takes a very long time. So although we have not yet witnessed anything like the level of the extinction that occurred at the end of the Permian, we should nevertheless bear in mind that ecosystems take a very long time to fully recover.

Sahney and Benton looked at the recovery of tetrapods animals with a backbone and four legs, such as amphibians and reptiles and found that although globally tetrapods appeared to recover quickly, the dramatic restructuring that occurred at the community level was not permanent and communities did not recover numerically or ecologically until about 30 million years later.

Professor Benton explained: Diversity is most commonly assessed by tallying the number of taxa on a global scale, but these studies are subject to the vagaries of sampling. By examining well-preserved and well-studied faunas, the taxonomic and ecological recovery of communities after the Permian extinction event can be examined more accurately, and the problems of geological bias are largely avoided.

The Permian extinctions occurred in three waves, the largest being at the boundary between the Permian and Triassic periods, 251 million years ago. This was the most devastating ecological event of all time, thought to be caused by large-scale volcanism in Russia which produced the Siberian Traps, covering over 200,000 square kilometers (77,000 square miles) in lava.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sarda Sahney
S.Sahney@bristol.ac.uk
44-796-247-2732
University of Bristol
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. MSU researcher helps develop computer game for Ugandan children recovering from cerebral malaria
2. Fish farms drive wild salmon populations toward extinction
3. Stanford researchers say climate change will significantly increase impending bird extinctions
4. Scientists warn that species extinction could reduce productivity of plants on Earth by half
5. NAS Biodiversity and Extinction Meeting Dec. 7-8
6. Meteor no longer prime suspect in great extinction
7. Fossil record supports evidence of impending mass extinction
8. Research team says extraterrestrial impact to blame for Ice Age extinctions
9. Scientists fear rare dolphin driven to extinction by human activities
10. Report: African, Asian, Latin American farm animals face extinction
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Recovering from a mass extinction
(Date:4/5/2017)... 5, 2017  The Allen Institute for Cell Science ... a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window into the ... the first application of deep learning to create predictive ... lines and a growing suite of powerful tools. The ... and future publicly available resources created and shared by ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... , April 4, 2017   EyeLock LLC ... announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office ... broadly covers the linking of an iris image with ... transaction) and represents the company,s 45 th issued ... patent is very timely given the multi-modal biometric capabilities ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... The research team of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University ... adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and matching technology, pushing ... for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, security of access ... ... A research team led by Dr Ajay ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... ... The award-winning American Farmer television series will feature 3 Bar Biologics in ... 8:30aET on RFD-TV. , With global population estimates nearing ten billion people by ... feed a growing nation. At the same time, many of our valuable resources are ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... line of medical marijuana products targeting the needs of consumers who are incorporating ... Kindred takes place in Phoenix, Arizona. , As operators of two successful Valley ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... instruments and applications consulting for microscopy and surface analysis, Nanoscience Instruments is ... Nanoscience Analytical offers a broad range of contract analysis services for advanced ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... Oct. 6, 2017  The 2017 Nobel Prize ... scientists, Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and ... cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have helped to ... structural biology community. The winners worked with systems ... routinely produce highly resolved, three-dimensional images of protein ...
Breaking Biology Technology: