Scientists want to build a solar energy ark on the Moon to protect terrestrial species –

Scientists want to build a solar energy ark on the Moon to protect terrestrial species

Understanding the worst mass extinction event in history could provide insight into what’s to come and offer a warning if global action is not taken.

That is why an international team of researchers looked back 252 million years, during the end of the Permian period when a severe extinction event, coined as “The Great Death”, wiped out 19 out of 20 species on Earth, the Academy California Science reported .

For the first time, in a study Released Wednesday, researchers identified what made “The Great Dying” more severe than other periods of extinction. The scientists studied this period because of the similarities in the crises that occurred then and are occurring now – “namely, extinction after the massive release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere,” wrote , adding that this period also faced global warming, acid rain and acidification.

But unlike other mass extinctions throughout history, species at the end of the Permian period struggled to recover, possibly for 10 million years, the California Academy of Sciences reported. To find out why, the scientists recreated food webs, sampled in northern China, spanning the Permian and Triassic periods, which showed how a single region responded to ecosystem collapse.

“By studying the fossils and evidence of their teeth, stomach contents, and droppings, I was able to identify who was eating whom,” Academy senior author and researcher Yuangeng Huang told the California Academy of Sciences. “It is important to build an accurate food web if we want to understand these ancient ecosystems.”

By tracking food webs during this period, the scientists saw that when animals died, nothing replaced them, creating an “ecosystem imbalance,” according to the California Academy of Sciences.

“We found that the end-Permian event was exceptional in two ways,” Professor Mike Benton of the University of Bristol told the California Academy of Sciences. “First, the diversity collapse was much more severe, while in the other two mass extinctions there were ecosystems of low stability before the final collapse. And second, the ecosystems took a long time to recover.”

The new study comes at the same time as two other groundbreaking studies that also draw comparisons between “The Great Dying” and the present day. In one of these studies, the scientists developed a record of ocean acidity, which allowed them to track how “The Great Dying” occurred. CBS reported .

The extinction did not happen all at once, but occurred as a series of events, from volcanic activity, release of carbon gases, global warming, ocean acidification, fire and erosion, spanning a million years, he told CBS News. Professor Uwe Brand, a geoscientist at Brock University in Canada, who participated in the study of ocean records. < / p>

“These are not individual and separate causes, but they all performed together, they performed in concert, and that is why I call it the perfect storm,” Brand told CBS News. “It hit you on this side with temperature, on this side with acidification, and finally the knockout came from deoxygenation.”

While the prospect of avoiding this same ecological collapse may seem elusive, conversations about how to respond are happening, even globally.

“Human well-being lies in protecting the health of the planet,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said recently, according to UN news , following the publication of a report, Make peace with nature , which calls for urgent action to combat environmental crises. “The rewards will be immense. With a new awareness, we can direct investment in policies and activities that protect and restore nature.”

Yuangeng Huang and his team’s research on food webs also shows which species were recovered from “The Great Dying,” providing insight into how modern species can do the same.

“This is an incredible new result,” Professor Zhong-Qiang Chen from China University of Geosciences, Wuhan told the California Academy of Sciences. “Combining new big data from long sections of rocks in northern China with state-of-the-art computational methods allows us to delve into these ancient examples in the same way that we can study food webs in the modern world.”


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