Skeletons and ocean chemistry: The long view

For the past 550 million years calcified metazoans and algae have been persistent features of marine ecosystems, but the diversity and abundance of hypercalcifying organisms capable of reef construction have repeatedly expanded and collapsed through time. Ocean acidification has been implicated in some of these collapses, notably during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum. Other events, such as the end-Permian mass extinction 252 million years ago, reveal patterns of extinction and survival that match predictions for ocean acidification based on physiological research. Several of these collapses were extremely long-lived, implicating additional causes. Connections between redox chemistry and the marine carbonate system suggest that expanded ocean basin anoxia can create conditions similar to ocean acidification, but which evolve on longer timescales. Interpretations of the geologic record benefit from and provide the context for ongoing physiological research into the synergistic consequences of global warming, ocean acidification, and subsurface hypoxia.

Knoll A. H., & Fisher W. W., 2011. Skeletons and ocean chemistry: The long view. In: Gattuso J.-P. & Hansson L. (Eds.), Ocean acidification, pp. 67-82. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Book.


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