Review

Proterozoic Ocean Chemistry and Evolution: A Bioinorganic Bridge?

Science  16 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5584, pp. 1137-1142
DOI: 10.1126/science.1069651

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Abstract

Recent data imply that for much of the Proterozoic Eon (2500 to 543 million years ago), Earth's oceans were moderately oxic at the surface and sulfidic at depth. Under these conditions, biologically important trace metals would have been scarce in most marine environments, potentially restricting the nitrogen cycle, affecting primary productivity, and limiting the ecological distribution of eukaryotic algae. Oceanic redox conditions and their bioinorganic consequences may thus help to explain observed patterns of Proterozoic evolution.

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