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Algal plankton turn to hunting to survive and recover from end-Cretaceous impact darkness

Algal plankton turn to hunting to survive and recover from end-Cretaceous impact darkness
Algal plankton turn to hunting to survive and recover from end-Cretaceous impact darkness

The end-Cretaceous bolide impact triggered the devastation of marine ecosystems. However, the specific kill mechanism(s) are still debated, and how primary production subsequently recovered remains elusive. We used marine plankton microfossils and eco-evolutionary modeling to determine strategies for survival and recovery, finding that widespread phagotrophy (prey ingestion) was fundamental to plankton surviving the impact and also for the subsequent reestablishment of primary production. Ecological selectivity points to extreme postimpact light inhibition as the principal kill mechanism, with the marine food chain temporarily reset to a bacteria-dominated state. Subsequently, in a sunlit ocean inhabited by only rare survivor grazers but abundant small prey, it was mixotrophic nutrition (autotrophy and heterotrophy) and increasing cell sizes that enabled the eventual reestablishment of marine food webs some 2 million years later.

2375-2548
Gibbs, Samantha J.
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Bown, Paul R.
773e1a6d-1c12-4e57-af3b-ec981390a64a
Ward, Ben A.
9063af30-e344-4626-9470-8db7c1543d05
Alvarez, Sarah A.
a2da0a63-d04f-4300-9b04-117d74bd382d
Kim, Hojung
0b5b4119-c440-489d-b589-2ff96a7aa25c
Archontikis, Odysseas A.
13a89197-a769-41c6-a8fd-3e2d4b245383
Sauterey, Boris
75b0769b-1403-47c0-9f09-95356c9b9ef1
Poulton, Alex J.
14bf64a7-d617-4913-b882-e8495543e717
Wilson, Jamie
749d089f-439c-4bf5-a10a-b8a754ae6cc6
Ridgwell, Andy
769cea5c-e033-456a-8b53-51dfa307dc35
Gibbs, Samantha J.
82dfbcbc-3a8a-40da-8a80-fe7ad83f3110
Bown, Paul R.
773e1a6d-1c12-4e57-af3b-ec981390a64a
Ward, Ben A.
9063af30-e344-4626-9470-8db7c1543d05
Alvarez, Sarah A.
a2da0a63-d04f-4300-9b04-117d74bd382d
Kim, Hojung
0b5b4119-c440-489d-b589-2ff96a7aa25c
Archontikis, Odysseas A.
13a89197-a769-41c6-a8fd-3e2d4b245383
Sauterey, Boris
75b0769b-1403-47c0-9f09-95356c9b9ef1
Poulton, Alex J.
14bf64a7-d617-4913-b882-e8495543e717
Wilson, Jamie
749d089f-439c-4bf5-a10a-b8a754ae6cc6
Ridgwell, Andy
769cea5c-e033-456a-8b53-51dfa307dc35

Gibbs, Samantha J., Bown, Paul R., Ward, Ben A., Alvarez, Sarah A., Kim, Hojung, Archontikis, Odysseas A., Sauterey, Boris, Poulton, Alex J., Wilson, Jamie and Ridgwell, Andy (2020) Algal plankton turn to hunting to survive and recover from end-Cretaceous impact darkness. Science Advances, 6 (44), [eabc9123]. (doi:10.1126/sciadv.abc9123).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The end-Cretaceous bolide impact triggered the devastation of marine ecosystems. However, the specific kill mechanism(s) are still debated, and how primary production subsequently recovered remains elusive. We used marine plankton microfossils and eco-evolutionary modeling to determine strategies for survival and recovery, finding that widespread phagotrophy (prey ingestion) was fundamental to plankton surviving the impact and also for the subsequent reestablishment of primary production. Ecological selectivity points to extreme postimpact light inhibition as the principal kill mechanism, with the marine food chain temporarily reset to a bacteria-dominated state. Subsequently, in a sunlit ocean inhabited by only rare survivor grazers but abundant small prey, it was mixotrophic nutrition (autotrophy and heterotrophy) and increasing cell sizes that enabled the eventual reestablishment of marine food webs some 2 million years later.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 16 September 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 30 October 2020
Published date: 30 October 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 447578
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/447578
ISSN: 2375-2548
PURE UUID: cd4edce6-fd03-46fd-8063-19d07278b53e

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Date deposited: 16 Mar 2021 17:42
Last modified: 27 Apr 2022 05:51

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Contributors

Author: Samantha J. Gibbs
Author: Paul R. Bown
Author: Ben A. Ward
Author: Sarah A. Alvarez
Author: Hojung Kim
Author: Odysseas A. Archontikis
Author: Boris Sauterey
Author: Alex J. Poulton
Author: Jamie Wilson
Author: Andy Ridgwell

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