Research in the news: The rise of oxygen on Earth

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Yale’s Noah J. Planavsky and collaborators have published a Nature review article titled “The rise of oxygen in Earth’s early ocean and atmosphere.”

Published online Feb. 19, the review surveys and assesses research about the emergence of significant oxygen concentrations and suggests that this happened hundreds of millions of years before the "great oxygenation event" of 2.3 billion years ago. In between, oxygen levels appear to have fluctuated considerably, according to the authors.

“A fundamentally new and increasingly unified model for the rise of oxygen through time is coming into focus,” they write.

The process and timing of Earth’s oxygenation has implications for our understanding of the origins of life.

Planavsky is assistant professor of geology and geophysics. He studies the connections among the evolution of Earth-system processes, biological innovation, and ecosystem change.

His co-authors are Timothy W. Lyons of UC-Riverside and Christopher T. Reinhard of the California Institute of Technology.

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