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Ecosystem function after the K/Pg extinction: decoupling of marine carbon pump and diversity

New research co-authored by Helen Coxall explores the coupling between the pelagic ecosystem and marine biological carbon pumping in the 5 million year recovery period after the Cretaceous/Paleogene mass extinction (66 million years ago), which wiped out the non bird-like dinosaurs and more than 90 % of calcareous plankton. The study finds that the bio-pump was back to full strength by 1.8 million years after the extinction event but that the more complex plankton and upper tiers of food webs took several million years longer to reconstruct.

Read more at Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences' website.

Birch, H., Schmidt, D.N., Coxall, H.K., Kroon, D. and Ridgwell, A. 2021. Ecosystem function after the K/Pg extinction: decoupling of marine carbon pump and diversity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 288, 20210863, https://doi.org/doi:10.1098/rspb.2021.0863.

Graph with many curves and colours
Figure 1. Multiproxy K/Pg datasets from Site 1262.