Stanford University

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Geological Sciences Seminar: Kevin Boyce, Stanford University

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2021 12:00 PM
More Info:


Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni/Friends
Department of Geological Science

The land biota in the long-term carbon cycle 

The chemical weathering of silicate rocks is the primary sink of atmospheric CO2 over geologic timescales and is the ultimate source of phosphorous and other key nutrients to the biosphere. Land plants play a key role in mediating weathering processes and land plant evolution has frequently been entertained as a driver of environmental and biotic evolution on a global scale including in the marine realm. For example, the evolution of bryophytic land plants, of vascular plant trees, and of flowering plants have all been implicated as potential causes of marine invertebrate diversification and/or mass extinction via their impact on nutrient delivery to the oceans or on atmospheric CO2 and climate. However, these events are often discussed over 1-10 myr timescales in ways that violate mass balance requirements over 100 kyr timescales. I will present work done with collaborators Dan Ibarra, Michael D’Antonio, and Matt Nelsen where we consider the implications of these discrepancies focusing on the Paleozoic evolution of vascular plants and on the Mesozoic evolution of high-productivity flowering plants and many parallel evolutions of nitrogen-based symbioses within the terrestrial biota. 

Email Kelly Wells,, for Zoom link and password.

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