Publications by authors named "Alan D Rooney"

4 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Calibrating the coevolution of Ediacaran life and environment.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 07 6;117(29):16824-16830. Epub 2020 Jul 6.

Department of Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755.

The rise of animals occurred during an interval of Earth history that witnessed dynamic marine redox conditions, potentially rapid plate motions, and uniquely large perturbations to global biogeochemical cycles. The largest of these perturbations, the Shuram carbon isotope excursion, has been invoked as a driving mechanism for Ediacaran environmental change, possibly linked with evolutionary innovation or extinction. However, there are a number of controversies surrounding the Shuram, including its timing, duration, and role in the concomitant biological and biogeochemical upheavals. Here we present radioisotopic dates bracketing the Shuram on two separate paleocontinents; our results are consistent with a global and synchronous event between 574.0 ± 4.7 and 567.3 ± 3.0 Ma. These dates support the interpretation that the Shuram is a primary and synchronous event postdating the Gaskiers glaciation. In addition, our Re-Os ages suggest that the appearance of Ediacaran macrofossils in northwestern Canada is identical, within uncertainty, to similar macrofossils from the Conception Group of Newfoundland, highlighting the coeval appearance of macroscopic metazoans across two paleocontinents. Our temporal framework for the terminal Proterozoic is a critical step for testing hypotheses related to extreme carbon isotope excursions and their role in the evolution of complex life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2002918117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7382294PMC
July 2020

Tracking the rise of eukaryotes to ecological dominance with zinc isotopes.

Geobiology 2018 07 5;16(4):341-352. Epub 2018 Jun 5.

Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

The biogeochemical cycling of zinc (Zn) is intimately coupled with organic carbon in the ocean. Based on an extensive new sedimentary Zn isotope record across Earth's history, we provide evidence for a fundamental shift in the marine Zn cycle ~800 million years ago. We discuss a wide range of potential drivers for this transition and propose that, within available constraints, a restructuring of marine ecosystems is the most parsimonious explanation for this shift. Using a global isotope mass balance approach, we show that a change in the organic Zn/C ratio is required to account for observed Zn isotope trends through time. Given the higher affinity of eukaryotes for Zn relative to prokaryotes, we suggest that a shift toward a more eukaryote-rich ecosystem could have provided a means of more efficiently sequestering organic-derived Zn. Despite the much earlier appearance of eukaryotes in the microfossil record (~1700 to 1600 million years ago), our data suggest a delayed rise to ecological prominence during the Neoproterozoic, consistent with the currently accepted organic biomarker records.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gbi.12289DOI Listing
July 2018

Controlled hydroxyapatite biomineralization in an ~810 million-year-old unicellular eukaryote.

Sci Adv 2017 06 28;3(6):e1700095. Epub 2017 Jun 28.

Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3AN, UK.

Biomineralization marks one of the most significant evolutionary milestones among the Eukarya, but its roots in the fossil record remain obscure. We report crystallographic and geochemical evidence for controlled eukaryotic biomineralization in Neoproterozoic scale microfossils from the Fifteenmile Group of Yukon, Canada. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy reveals that the microfossils are constructed of a hierarchically organized interwoven network of fibrous hydroxyapatite crystals each elongated along the [001] direction, indicating biological control over microstructural crystallization. New Re-Os geochronological data from organic-rich shale directly below the fossil-bearing limestone constrain their age to <810.7 ± 6.3 million years ago. Mineralogical and geochemical variations from these sedimentary rocks indicate that dynamic global marine redox conditions, enhanced by local restriction, may have led to an increase in dissolved phosphate in pore and bottom waters of the Fifteenmile basin and facilitated the necessary geochemical conditions for the advent of calcium phosphate biomineralization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1700095DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5489269PMC
June 2017

Re-Os geochronology and coupled Os-Sr isotope constraints on the Sturtian snowball Earth.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2014 Jan 16;111(1):51-6. Epub 2013 Dec 16.

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138.

After nearly a billion years with no evidence for glaciation, ice advanced to equatorial latitudes at least twice between 717 and 635 Mya. Although the initiation mechanism of these Neoproterozoic Snowball Earth events has remained a mystery, the broad synchronicity of rifting of the supercontinent Rodinia, the emplacement of large igneous provinces at low latitude, and the onset of the Sturtian glaciation has suggested a tectonic forcing. We present unique Re-Os geochronology and high-resolution Os and Sr isotope profiles bracketing Sturtian-age glacial deposits of the Rapitan Group in northwest Canada. Coupled with existing U-Pb dates, the postglacial Re-Os date of 662.4 ± 3.9 Mya represents direct geochronological constraints for both the onset and demise of a Cryogenian glaciation from the same continental margin and suggests a 55-My duration of the Sturtian glacial epoch. The Os and Sr isotope data allow us to assess the relative weathering input of old radiogenic crust and more juvenile, mantle-derived substrate. The preglacial isotopic signals are consistent with an enhanced contribution of juvenile material to the oceans and glacial initiation through enhanced global weatherability. In contrast, postglacial strata feature radiogenic Os and Sr isotope compositions indicative of extensive glacial scouring of the continents and intense silicate weathering in a post-Snowball Earth hothouse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1317266110DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3890860PMC
January 2014