by University of Cambridge, June 25, 2018 in ScienceDaily
Some of the earliest complex organisms on Earth — possibly some of the earliest animals to exist — got big not to compete for food, but to spread their offspring as far as possible.
The research, led by the University of Cambridge, found that the most successful organisms living in the oceans more than half a billion years ago were the ones that were able to ‘throw’ their offspring the farthest, thereby colonising their surroundings. The results are reported in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.
Prior to the Ediacaran period, between 635 and 541 million years ago, life forms were microscopic in size, but during the Ediacaran, large, complex organisms first appeared, some of which — such as a type of organism known as rangeomorphs — grew as tall as two metres.
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by Amanda Morris, June 4, 2018 inNorthwesternUniversity
A tiny clue found in ancient sediment has unlocked big secrets about Greenland’s past and future climate.
Just beyond the northwest edge of the vast Greenland Ice Sheet, Northwestern University researchers have discovered lake mud that beat tough odds by surviving the last ice age. The mud, and remains of common flies nestled within it, record two interglacial periods in northwest Greenland. Although researchers have long known these two periods — the early Holocene and Last Interglacial — experienced warming in the Arctic due to changes in the Earth’s orbit, the mix of fly species preserved from these times shows that Greenland was even warmer than previously thought.
by Hokkaido University, May 24, 2018 in ScienceDaily
A highly precise method to determine past typhoon occurrences from giant clam shells has been developed, with the hope of using this method to predict future cyclone activity.
A team of researchers led by Tsuyoshi Watanabe of Hokkaido University has discovered that giant clams record short-term environmental changes, such as those caused by typhoons, in their shells. Analyzing the shell’s microstructure and chemical composition could reveal data about typhoons that occurred before written records were available… (…)
The whole Tridacna maxima valve. The shell was cut in two sections along the maximum growth axis.
Credit: Komagoe T. et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, April 19, 2018
by University of Leicester, May 9, 2018 in ScienceDaily
The research, published in Science Advances, suggests that early animals diversified within a climate similar to that in which the dinosaurs lived.
This interval in time is known for the ‘Cambrian explosion’, the time during which representatives of most of the major animal groups first appear in the fossil record. These include the first animals to produce shells, and it is these shelly fossils that the scientists used.
Data from the tiny fossil shells, and data from new climate model runs, show that high latitude (~65 °S) sea temperatures were in excess of 20 °C. This seems very hot, but it is similar to more recent, better understood, greenhouse climates like that of the Late Cretaceous Period.
by Donna Laframboise, April 23, 2018 in ClimateChangeDispatch
SPOTLIGHT: After the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was released in 2007, its dramatic findings of species extinction were repeatedly emphasized by chairman Rajendra Pachauri.
BIG PICTURE: When it examined the question of species extinction, the 2007 IPCC report relied heavily on a single piece of research – a Nature cover storypublished early in 2004. Written by Chris Thomas and 18 others, this was the source of Pachauri’s claim that climate change threatened 20 to 30% of the world’s species.
by Donald et al. 2017, in CO2Science from Géochim.Cosmochim.Acta
The influence of pHsw on both pHcf and the calcification rate of Neogoniolithon is plotted in Figure 1 below. As indicated there, this coralline algal species is able to elevate its pHcf so as to increase its rate of calcification under moderate levels of ocean acidification (pHsw of 7.91 and 8.05), which increase the authors say is “most likely due to CO2-fertilization of [algal] photosynthesis” that is limited in Neogoniolithon at these lower pCO2 conditions. (….)
by University of Chicago, January 9, 2018 in ScienceDaily
Though mass extinctions wiped out staggeringly high numbers of species, they barely touched the overall ‘functional’ diversity — how each species makes a living, be it filtering phytoplankton or eating small crustaceans, burrowing or clamping onto rocks.
by Dr. S. Crockford, in A. Watts, December 5, 2017 in WUWT
Essay by Dr. Susan Crockford (republished from her website https://polarbearscience.com )
Today I sent a letter to the editors of the journal Bioscience requesting retraction of the shoddy and malicious paper by Harvey et al. (Internet blogs, polar bears, and climate-change denial by proxy) published online last week.
The letter reveals information about the workings of the polar bear expert inner circle not known before now, so grab your popcorn.
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by Winder M. et al., 2017 in Limnology and Oceanography (CO2Science) November 15, 2017
(…) And commenting on this latter finding, they acknowledge that “this is an important component of the biological pump and may contribute to CO2 removal from the atmosphere, mitigating anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gases.”
by Andy May, November 4, 2017
18O is a rare isotope of oxygen. The ratio of 18O to the normal 16O in foraminifera fossils (“forams”) can be used to estimate paleo-ocean temperatures. Higher values mean lower temperatures. A recent article on geologypage.com (here) led me to Bernard, et al., 2017, which has experimental data that suggest 18O concentrations can be altered in fossils by solid-state diffusion after fossilization. This can corrupt the measurement and the resulting calculated temperature
by McCulloch et al., 2017, October 2017, in co2science
Paper Reviewed: McCulloch, M.T., D’Olivo, J.P., Falter, J., Holcomb, M. and Trotter, J.A. 2017. Coral calcification in a changing world and the interactive dynamics of pH and DIC upregulation. Nature Communications 8: 15686, DOI:10.1038/ncomms15686
(…) The implications of the above findings are enormous, for they reveal that “pHcf upregulation occurs largely independent of changes in seawater carbonate chemistry, and hence ocean acidification,” demonstrating “the ability of the coral to ‘control’ what is arguably one of its most fundamental physiological processes, the growth of its skeleton within which it lives.
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by McCormack et al., 2017, September 18, 2017 in FungalEcology
In light of the above findings, it would appear that, given the near-global distribution of this EM fungi and its importance in stimulating ecosystem productivity, the positive impact of elevated CO2 on C. geophilumproduction (~50% increase for a 200 ppm rise) represents a welcomed benefit for the future of Earth’s forests.
by National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, August 21, 2017 in ScienceDaily
Tremendous amounts of soot, lofted into the air from global wildfires following a massive asteroid strike 66 million years ago, would have plunged Earth into darkness for nearly two years, new research finds. This would have shut down photosynthesis, drastically cooled the planet, and contributed to the mass extinction that marked the end of the age of dinosaurs.
by Jochen J. Brocks et al., August 2017, in Nature
The ‘Rise of Algae’ created food webs with more efficient nutrient and energy transfers, driving ecosystems towards larger and increasingly complex organisms. This effect is recorded by the concomitant appearance of biomarkers for sponges and predatory rhizarians, and the subsequent radiation of eumetazoans in the Ediacaran period.
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