High Molybdenum availability for evolution in a Mesoproterozoic lacustrine environment

John Parnell, Samuel Spinks, Steven Andrews, Wanethon Thayalan, Stephen Bowden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Trace metal data for Proterozoic marine euxinic sediments imply that the expansion of nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria and diversification of eukaryotes were delayed while the availability of bioessential metals such as molybdenum in the ocean was limited. However, there is increasing recognition that the Mesoproterozoic evolution of nitrogen fixation and eukaryotic life may have been promoted in marginal marine and terrestrial environments, including lakes, rather than in the deep ocean. Molybdenum availability is critical to life in lakes, just as it is in the oceans. It is, therefore, important to assess molybdenum availability to the lacustrine environment in the Mesoproterozoic. Here we show that the flux of molybdenum to a Mesoproterozoic lake was 1 to 2 orders of magnitude greater than typical fluxes in the modern and ancient marine environment. Thus, there was no barrier to availability to prevent evolution in the terrestrial environment, in contrast to the nutrient-limited Mesoproterozoic oceans.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


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