A new Stanford University study shows rising oxygen levels may explain why global extinction rates slowed down over the past 541 million years. Below 40 percent of present atmospheric oxygen, ocean dead zones rapidly expand, and extinctions ramp up.
Stanford-led expeditions to a remote area of Yukon, Canada, have uncovered a 120-million-year-long geological record of a time when land plants and complex animals first evolved and ocean oxygen levels began to approach those in the modern world.
A collection of research and insights from Stanford experts who are deciphering the mysteries and mechanisms of extinction and survival in Earth’s deep past and painting an increasingly detailed picture of life now at the brink.
Researchers present new evidence that the deoxygenation of the ocean wiped out biodiversity during one of the “Big Five” mass extinctions in Earth’s history – relevant information as climate change contributes to decreasing oxygen in the oceans today.
When significant oxygen entered the atmosphere, ancient life multiplied. But after a few hundred million years, Earth’s oxygen plummeted, resulting in a die-off likely greater than the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Stanford Earth's David Lobell, Rob Jackson, Erik Sperling, Dustin Schroeder, Sally Benson, Roz Naylor, Michael Machala, Rosemary Knight and Kate Maher have received funding for interdisciplinary research to solve major environmental problems.
Scientists have long wondered why the planet's first complex organisms emerged in the cold, dark depths of the ocean, where food and sun are in short supply. Stanford Earth's Erik Sperling and Tom Boag have an answer.
Stanford Earth's Tom Boag and Erik Sperling may have uncovered an important piece of the Ediacaran-Cambrian puzzle which could help piece together the missing links of the evolution of all life on Earth.
People always ask why they’re here on Earth. A study by Stanford Earth's Tom Boag and Erik Sperling suggests it could be because the deep ocean stays the same temperature and our single-cell ancestors liked to keep things simple.
Why did the first big, complex organisms spring to life in deep, dark oceans where food was scarce? A new study finds great depths provided a stable, life-sustaining refuge from wild temperature swings in the shallows.
A study co-authored by Jon Payne and Erik Sperling suggests the worst extinction in Earth’s history offers chilling predictions for the planet’s future – and for humanity’s efforts to keep climate doom at bay.
A study co-authored by Erik Sperling and Jon Payne shows rapid global warming caused the largest extinction event in the Earth’s history, which wiped out the vast majority of marine and terrestrial animals on the planet.
Scientists have debated until now what made Earth's oceans so inhospitable to life that some 96 percent of marine species died off at the end of the Permian period. New research shows the "Great Dying" was caused by global warming that left ocean animals unable to breathe.