We have examined the impact of the Mesozoic algal revolution using biogeochemical simulations to analyze the energy flux into the subsurface environment. In particular, the delivery scheme of energy to the subsurface was dramatically altered by the appearance of mineralized exoskeletons, both in algal groups (e.g., coccolithophores) and in zooplanktic taxa. These biominerals, acting as ballast, accentuated the delivery of organic matter to subsurface waters. Thus, the elevated organic carbon flux associated with evolutionary developments in Mesozoic taxa caused an intense but short-lived oceanic euxinia, without an associated mass extinction event, in sharp contrast to the relatively prolonged Paleozoic euxinia that were generally coincident with mass extinctions.
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Vol. 15 • No. 2