All Publications

  • Decreasing Phanerozoic extinction intensity as a consequence of Earth surface oxygenation and metazoan ecophysiology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Stockey, R. G., Pohl, A., Ridgwell, A., Finnegan, S., Sperling, E. A. 2021; 118 (41)


    The decline in background extinction rates of marine animals through geologic time is an established but unexplained feature of the Phanerozoic fossil record. There is also growing consensus that the ocean and atmosphere did not become oxygenated to near-modern levels until the mid-Paleozoic, coinciding with the onset of generally lower extinction rates. Physiological theory provides us with a possible causal link between these two observations-predicting that the synergistic impacts of oxygen and temperature on aerobic respiration would have made marine animals more vulnerable to ocean warming events during periods of limited surface oxygenation. Here, we evaluate the hypothesis that changes in surface oxygenation exerted a first-order control on extinction rates through the Phanerozoic using a combined Earth system and ecophysiological modeling approach. We find that although continental configuration, the efficiency of the biological carbon pump in the ocean, and initial climate state all impact the magnitude of modeled biodiversity loss across simulated warming events, atmospheric oxygen is the dominant predictor of extinction vulnerability, with metabolic habitat viability and global ecophysiotype extinction exhibiting inflection points around 40% of present atmospheric oxygen. Given this is the broad upper limit for estimates of early Paleozoic oxygen levels, our results are consistent with the relative frequency of high-magnitude extinction events (particularly those not included in the canonical big five mass extinctions) early in the Phanerozoic being a direct consequence of limited early Paleozoic oxygenation and temperature-dependent hypoxia responses.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.2101900118

    View details for PubMedID 34607946

  • Metabolic tradeoffs control biodiversity gradients through geological time. Current biology : CB Boag, T. H., Gearty, W., Stockey, R. G. 2021


    The latitudinal gradient of increasing marine biodiversity from the poles to the tropics is one of the most conspicuous biological patterns in modern oceans.1-3 Low-latitude regions of the global ocean are often hotspots of animal biodiversity, yet they are set to be most critically affected by anthropogenic climate change.4 As ocean temperatures rise and deoxygenation proceeds in the coming centuries, the volume of aerobically viable habitat is predicted to decrease in these zones.5,6 In contrast to the slightly asymmetrical modern latitudinal biodiversity gradient,7 compilations of fossil occurrences indicate peaks in biodiversity may have existed much further away from the equator in the past, with transitions between climate states hypothesized to explain this trend.8-13 We combine a new compilation of fossil mollusc occurrences, paleotemperature proxies, and biogeographic data to reveal a non-monotonic relationship between temperature and diversity in the paleontological record over the last 145 million years. We derive a metabolic model that integrates the kinetic effects of temperature on biodiversity14 with the recently described Metabolic Index that calculates aerobic habitat availability based on the effect of temperature on hypoxia sensitivity.5,15,16 Although factors such as coastal habitat area and homeothermy are important,17,18 we find strong congruence between our metabolic model and our fossil and paleotemperature meta-analysis. We therefore suggest that the effects of ocean temperature on the aerobic scope of marine ectotherms is a primary driver of migrating biodiversity peaks through geologic time and will likely play a role in the restructuring of biodiversity under projected future climate scenarios.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2021.04.021

    View details for PubMedID 33961786

  • Persistent global marine euxinia in the early Silurian. Nature communications Stockey, R. G., Cole, D. B., Planavsky, N. J., Loydell, D. K., Fryda, J., Sperling, E. A. 2020; 11 (1): 1804


    The second pulse of the Late Ordovician mass extinction occurred around the Hirnantian-Rhuddanian boundary (~444Ma) and has been correlated with expanded marine anoxia lasting into the earliest Silurian. Characterization of the Hirnantian ocean anoxic event has focused on the onset of anoxia, with global reconstructions based on carbonate delta238U modeling. However, there have been limited attempts to quantify uncertainty in metal isotope mass balance approaches. Here, we probabilistically evaluate coupled metal isotopes and sedimentary archives to increase constraint. We present iron speciation, metal concentration, delta98Mo and delta238U measurements of Rhuddanian black shales from the Murzuq Basin, Libya. We evaluate these data (and published carbonate delta238U data) with a coupled stochastic mass balance model. Combined statistical analysis of metal isotopes and sedimentary sinks provides uncertainty-bounded constraints on the intensity of Hirnantian-Rhuddanian euxinia. This work extends the duration of anoxia to >3 Myrs - notably longer than well-studied Mesozoic ocean anoxic events.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-020-15400-y

    View details for PubMedID 32286253

  • <p>Uranium isotope evidence for extensive shallow water anoxia in the early Tonian oceans</p> EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS Zhang, F., Stockey, R. G., Xiao, S., Shen, S., Dahl, T. W., Wei, G., Cao, M., Li, Z., Kang, J., Cui, Y., Anbar, A. D., Planavsky, N. J. 2022; 583
  • Vertical decoupling in Late Ordovician anoxia due to reorganization of ocean circulation NATURE GEOSCIENCE Pohl, A., Lu, Z., Lu, W., Stockey, R. G., Elrick, M., Li, M., Desrochers, A., Shen, Y., He, R., Finnegan, S., Ridgwell, A. 2021; 14 (11): 868-+
  • The Sedimentary Geochemistry and Paleoenvironments Project. Geobiology Farrell, U. C., Samawi, R., Anjanappa, S., Klykov, R., Adeboye, O. O., Agic, H., Ahm, A. C., Boag, T. H., Bowyer, F., Brocks, J. J., Brunoir, T. N., Canfield, D. E., Chen, X., Cheng, M., Clarkson, M. O., Cole, D. B., Cordie, D. R., Crockford, P. W., Cui, H., Dahl, T. W., Mouro, L. D., Dewing, K., Dornbos, S. Q., Drabon, N., Dumoulin, J. A., Emmings, J. F., Endriga, C. R., Fraser, T. A., Gaines, R. R., Gaschnig, R. M., Gibson, T. M., Gilleaudeau, G. J., Gill, B. C., Goldberg, K., Guilbaud, R., Halverson, G. P., Hammarlund, E. U., Hantsoo, K. G., Henderson, M. A., Hodgskiss, M. S., Horner, T. J., Husson, J. M., Johnson, B., Kabanov, P., Brenhin Keller, C., Kimmig, J., Kipp, M. A., Knoll, A. H., Kreitsmann, T., Kunzmann, M., Kurzweil, F., LeRoy, M. A., Li, C., Lipp, A. G., Loydell, D. K., Lu, X., Macdonald, F. A., Magnall, J. M., Mand, K., Mehra, A., Melchin, M. J., Miller, A. J., Mills, N. T., Mwinde, C. N., O'Connell, B., Och, L. M., Ossa Ossa, F., Pages, A., Paiste, K., Partin, C. A., Peters, S. E., Petrov, P., Playter, T. L., Plaza-Torres, S., Porter, S. M., Poulton, S. W., Pruss, S. B., Richoz, S., Ritzer, S. R., Rooney, A. D., Sahoo, S. K., Schoepfer, S. D., Sclafani, J. A., Shen, Y., Shorttle, O., Slotznick, S. P., Smith, E. F., Spinks, S., Stockey, R. G., Strauss, J. V., Stueken, E. E., Tecklenburg, S., Thomson, D., Tosca, N. J., Uhlein, G. J., Vizcaino, M. N., Wang, H., White, T., Wilby, P. R., Woltz, C. R., Wood, R. A., Xiang, L., Yurchenko, I. A., Zhang, T., Planavsky, N. J., Lau, K. V., Johnston, D. T., Sperling, E. A. 2021

    View details for DOI 10.1111/gbi.12462

    View details for PubMedID 34219351

  • A long-term record of early to mid-Paleozoic marine redox change. Science advances Sperling, E. A., Melchin, M. J., Fraser, T., Stockey, R. G., Farrell, U. C., Bhajan, L., Brunoir, T. N., Cole, D. B., Gill, B. C., Lenz, A., Loydell, D. K., Malinowski, J., Miller, A. J., Plaza-Torres, S., Bock, B., Rooney, A. D., Tecklenburg, S. A., Vogel, J. M., Planavsky, N. J., Strauss, J. V. 2021; 7 (28)


    The extent to which Paleozoic oceans differed from Neoproterozoic oceans and the causal relationship between biological evolution and changing environmental conditions are heavily debated. Here, we report a nearly continuous record of seafloor redox change from the deep-water upper Cambrian to Middle Devonian Road River Group of Yukon, Canada. Bottom waters were largely anoxic in the Richardson trough during the entirety of Road River Group deposition, while independent evidence from iron speciation and Mo/U ratios show that the biogeochemical nature of anoxia changed through time. Both in Yukon and globally, Ordovician through Early Devonian anoxic waters were broadly ferruginous (nonsulfidic), with a transition toward more euxinic (sulfidic) conditions in the mid-Early Devonian (Pragian), coincident with the early diversification of vascular plants and disappearance of graptolites. This ~80-million-year interval of the Paleozoic characterized by widespread ferruginous bottom waters represents a persistence of Neoproterozoic-like marine redox conditions well into the Phanerozoic.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/sciadv.abf4382

    View details for PubMedID 34233874

  • Global marine redox evolution from the late Neoproterozoic to the early Paleozoic constrained by the integration of Mo and U isotope records EARTH-SCIENCE REVIEWS Wei, G., Planavsky, N. J., He, T., Zhang, F., Stockey, R. G., Cole, D. B., Lin, Y., Ling, H. 2021; 214
  • Oxygen, temperature and the deep-marine stenothermal cradle of Ediacaran evolution PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES Boag, T. H., Stockey, R. G., Elder, L. E., Hull, P. M., Sperling, E. A. 2018; 285 (1893)
  • The Temporal and Environmental Context of Early Animal Evolution: Considering All the Ingredients of an "Explosion" INTRODUCTION INTEGRATIVE AND COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY Sperling, E. A., Stockey, R. G. 2018; 58 (4): 605–22

    View details for DOI 10.1093/icb/icy088

    View details for Web of Science ID 000451999800001