The Oxygen Revolution

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 156
  • Published : December 8, 2009
Open Document
Text Preview
Oxygen Revolution
{text:bookmark-start} {text:bookmark-end}
Oxygen Revolution
{text:bookmark-start} {text:bookmark-end} Oxygen Revolution The oxygen revolution, which is sometimes known as the oxygen catastrophe is believed to have occurred about 2.4 billion years ago with the evolution of cyanobacteria, a type of blue- green algae. Before this time, the atmosphere had a very different chemical make-up, high in carbon molecules; unsustainable for life as known today. These prokaryotes were the first photosynthetic organisms to release oxygen into the atmosphere (Campbell, Reece, & Simon, 2007). Photosynthesis is using light energy to produce sugars and other types of organic food molecules from water and carbon dioxide. This process is used by plants, autotrophic protists and some bacteria. The end result of which releases unadulterated pure oxygen into the atmosphere (Campbell, Reece, & Simon, 2007). The oxygen atmosphere that is depended on was generated by numerous cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria gradually started to have a higher population, leading to more oxygen to be released into the atmosphere. Being aquatic bacteria the ocean and seas were filled with the oxygen produced. The oxygen underwater began to react with the abundant iron, eventually chemically cleaning the oceans of the iron through oxidation. Once the oxidized iron started settling to the ocean floor, the green color began to dissipate and the blue tint of oxygen took over. These developments were ecological disasters– oxygen was poison to the ancient inhabitants due to the tendency to attack bonds of organic molecules (Campbell, Reece, & Simon, 2007). The survivors of this catastrophe hid themselves in the depths of the ocean away from the threat of oxygen; the others adapted the ability to use photosynthesis. Atmospheric changes drastically affect all organisms. Today, there is a threat of atmospheric changes with global warming. Logging, development, and destruction of natural...
tracking img