Paper No. 38-4
Presentation Time: 2:25 PM
TEMPERATURE-DEPENDENT HYPOXIA EXPLAINS END-PERMIAN MASS EXTINCTION IN THE OCEANS
Here we use climate model simulations to determine the magnitude of environmental forcing required to explain geochemical evidence of ocean warming and deoxygenation observed during the end-Permian mass extinction. We evaluate the potential effects of the modeled climate change on aerobic habitat availability using physiological calibrations from living marine animals, finding that rapid warming and deoxygenation would have resulted in massive losses with significant geographic and physiological selectivity. The model-predicted patterns in animal richness explain the global loss of ~70% of end-Permian genera and the more complete extinction in high latitudes that is verified by new spatially explicit analyses of the fossil record. Aerobic habitat loss is also shown to be consistent with previously observed trends in extinction intensity across taxonomic groups. Rapid and extreme climate warming appears to have been the proximal cause of the most severe crisis in the history of animal life.