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Tracing a Metal Link
Topic: Biosphere
Summary: The use of trace metals by modern organisms probably derives from changes in ancient ocean chemistry. Their availability is believed to have been brought about by the biologically-caused rise in atmospheric oxygen some 2.3 billion years ago. The development of photosynthesis affected them also.

The Oxygen Gap
Topic: Biosphere
Summary: Vertebrate creatures first began moving from the world's oceans to land about 415 million years ago, then all but disappeared by 360 million years ago. The fossil record contains few examples of animals with backbones for the next 15 million years, and then suddenly vertebrates show up again, this time for good.

It Took More than One Punch to KO the Dinos
Topic: Biosphere
Summary: There's growing evidence that the dinosaurs and most their contemporaries were not wiped out by the famed Chicxulub meteor impact, according to a paleontologist who says multiple meteor impacts, massive volcanism in India, and climate changes culminated in the end of the Cretaceous Period.

Early Aerobes
Topic: Biosphere
Summary: Scientists at the Carnegie Institution and Penn State University have discovered evidence showing that microbes adapted to living with oxygen 2.72 billion years ago, at least 300 million years before the rise of oxygen in the atmosphere.

Reweaving the Food Web
Topic: Biosphere
Summary: The recovery of biodiversity after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction was much more chaotic than previously thought, according to paleontologists. New fossil evidence shows that at certain times and places, plant and insect diversity were severely out of balance, not linked as they are today.

Calendrical Bacteria
Topic: Biosphere
Summary: Every creature has its place and role in the oceans - even the smallest microbe, according to a new study.

Predator, Prey, Parasite
Topic: Biosphere
Summary: Scientists have discovered that parasites are surprisingly important in food webs. According to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, parasites may be the thread that holds the structure of ecological communities together.

Jellyfish-Like Creatures Fight Global Warming
Topic: Biosphere
Summary: Transparent jellyfish-like creatures known as salps, considered by many a low member in the ocean food web, may be more important to the fate of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the ocean than previously thought.

Heat and Serve Species
Topic: Biosphere
Summary: Comfortable living is not why so many different life forms seem to converge at the warmer areas of the planet.

The Oxygen Imperative
Topic: Biosphere
Summary: It's common knowledge that humans and other animals couldn't survive without oxygen. But scientists are now learning a good deal more about the extent of our evolutionary debt to a substance that was once a deadly poison.

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