Navigation Links
Toxic oceans may have delayed spread of complex life
Date:2/28/2013

A new model suggests that inhospitable hydrodgen-sulphide rich waters could have delayed the spread of complex life forms in ancient oceans. The research, published online this week in the journal Nature Communications, considers the composition of the oceans 550-700 million years ago and shows that oxygen-poor toxic conditions, which may have delayed the establishment of complex life, were controlled by the biological availability of nitrogen.

In contrast to modern oceans, data from ancient rocks indicates that the deep oceans of the early Earth contained little oxygen, and flipped between an iron-rich state and a toxic hydrogen-sulphide-rich state. The latter toxic sulphidic state is caused by bacteria that survive in low oxygen and low nitrate conditions. The study shows how bacteria using nitrate in their metabolism would have displaced the less energetically efficient bacteria that produce sulphide meaning that the presence of nitrate in the oceans prevented build-up of the toxic sulphidic state.

The model, developed by researchers at the University of Exeter in collaboration with Plymouth Marine Laboratory, University of Leeds, UCL (University College London) and the University of Southern Denmark, reveals the sensitivity of the early oceans to the global nitrogen cycle. It shows how the availability of nitrate, and feedbacks within the global nitrogen cycle, would have controlled the shifting of the oceans between the two oxygen-free states potentially restricting the spread of early complex life.

Dr Richard Boyle from the University of Exeter said: "Data from the modern ocean suggests that even in an oxygen-poor ocean, this apparent global-scale interchange between sulphidic and non-sulphidic conditions is difficult to achieve. We've shown here how feedbacks arising from the fact that life uses nitrate as both a nutrient, and in respiration, controlled the interchange between two ocean states. For as long as sulphidic conditions remained frequent, Earth's oceans were inhospitable towards complex life."

Today, an abundance of nitrate, in the context of an oxygenated ocean, prevents a reversion to the inhospitable environment that inhibited early life. Determining how the Earth's oceans have established long-term stability helps us to understand how modern oceans interact with life and also sheds light on the sensitivity of oceans to changes in composition.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jo Bowler
j.bowler@exeter.ac.uk
44-013-927-22062
University of Exeter
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Is nanosilver toxic?
2. Nitrogen from pollution, natural sources causes growth of toxic algae, study finds
3. Scientists turn toxic by-product into biofuel booster
4. How our cells cope with toxic small molecules
5. Chemistry resolves toxic concerns about carbon nanotubes
6. Discovered! The new species of Borneos enigmatic primate with a toxic bite
7. Potentially toxic flame retardants found in many US couches
8. Scientists take objective look at terms least toxic pesticides applied as last resort
9. Colorful wall hangings contain toxic substances
10. Corals attacked by toxic seaweed use chemical 911 signals to summon help
11. Sweet new approach discovered to help produce metal casting parts, reduce toxicity
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016  The American College of Medical ... Show Executive Magazine as one of the fastest-growing trade ... 25-27 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas ... highest percentage of growth in each of the following categories: ... companies and number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting ...
(Date:6/21/2016)... June 21, 2016 NuData Security announced today ... role of principal product architect and that ... of customer development. Both will report directly to ... The moves reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its ... high customer demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... York , June 15, 2016 ... new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market by Application ... Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the report, the  ... 11.60 billion in 2015 and is estimated to ... USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  Increasing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016  Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... healthier lives through the development of innovative products and ... the United States denied its petition ... claims of Sequenom,s U.S. Patent No. 6,258,540 (",540 Patent") ... established by the Supreme Court,s Mayo Collaborative Services v. ...
(Date:6/27/2016)...  Liquid Biotech USA , ... Sponsored Research Agreement with The University of Pennsylvania ... cancer patients.  The funding will be used to ... clinical outcomes in cancer patients undergoing a variety ... employed to support the design of a therapeutic, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... find the most commonly-identified miRNAs in people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings ... here to read it now. , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SPRING, Md. , June 23, 2016 A ... collected from the crime scene to track the criminal down. ... and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The ... genome sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as ...
Breaking Biology Technology: