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Fields & Applications Mass Spectrometry, Environmental

Of Moss and Men

Despite atmospheric oxygen over Earth’s history having recently received a lot of airtime (pun unintended), the puzzle of when and how atmospheric oxygen reached modern levels remains unresolved. Climate change scientist Tim Lenton (Professor at the University of Exeter) was struck by how the timing corresponded with the rise of the earliest plants, and, wanting to explore it further, gathered a team. “I was working with co-author Philipp Porada on modeling of the productivity of the early plant biosphere and realized that plants could be responsible for the rise in oxygen,” he says. “I brought the rest of the team together to get a better handle on the geochemical data establishing the timing and mechanism of oxygen rise, and to help develop the model for long-term controls on atmospheric oxygen.”

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About the Author

Joanna Cummings

A former library manager and storyteller, I have wanted to write for magazines since I was six years old, when I used to make my own out of foolscap paper and sellotape and distribute them to my family. Since getting my MSc in Publishing, I’ve worked as a freelance writer and content creator for both digital and print, writing on subjects such as fashion, food, tourism, photography – and the history of Roman toilets. Now I can be found working on The Analytical Scientist, finding the ‘human angle’ to cutting-edge science stories.

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