Stable ocean redox during the main phase of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


  • Fulltext

    Final published version, 1.27 MB, PDF document

The Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event (GOBE) represents the greatest increase in marine animal biodiversity ever recorded. What caused this transformation is heavily debated. One hypothesis states that rising atmospheric oxygen levels drove the biodiversification based on the premise that animals require oxygen for their metabolism. Here, we present uranium isotope data from a Middle Ordovician marine carbonate succession that shows the steepest rise in generic richness occurred with global marine redox stability. Ocean oxygenation ensued later and could not have driven the biodiversification. Stable marine anoxic zones prevailed during the maximum increase in biodiversity (Dapingian–early Darriwilian) when the life expectancy of evolving genera greatly increased. Subsequently, unstable ocean redox conditions occurred together with a marine carbon cycle disturbance and a decrease in relative diversification rates. Therefore, we propose that oceanic redox stability was a factor in facilitating the establishment of more resilient ecosystems allowing marine animal life to radiate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number220
JournalCommunications Earth & Environment
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

ID: 321542126