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Scientists reveal why life got big in the Earth's early oceans
Date:1/24/2014

ze in absorbing nutrients from seawater.

Understanding what advantages rangeomorphs gained over bacteria by growing tall would provide scientists with insights into what drove the evolution of the first communities of large life forms in the fossil record, Jacobs said.

The scientists discovered that rangeomorphs had an advantage when they grew off the sea floor, as they were exposed to higher flow, generating much greater "nutrient uptake."

The inducement to "grow upwards is a function of the canopy, which controls the velocity of ocean water as it moves through the rangeomorph community," Jacobs said. "As individuals grow upwards, the properties of water flow change, which promotes further upward growth."

Both the canopy-flow and surface-uptake models represent significant advances in scientists' ability to understand the ecology of fossil and modern communities, Jacobs said. Such modeling may prove critical to understanding processes that affect ocean life today, such as coral bleaching, he said.


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Contact: Stuart Wolpert
swolpert@support.ucla.edu
310-206-0511
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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