Photosynthesis: A Planetary Revolution
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) Bahcall Auditorium 3700 San Martin Drive Baltimore, MD 21218
12:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Woodward Fischer (Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, Caltech)
Photosynthesis is the most important bioenergetic innovation in the history of the biosphere and it engendered Earth’s most marked environmental change: the rise of oxygen. Photosynthesis dramatically increased global primary production and transformed Earth's chemical cycles. At the same time, this new photosynthetic source of oxygen brought about tremendous biological change. Oxygen rewrote life’s recipe book, facilitating evolution of the richness we associate with modern biology. In this talk I will present observations from a range of perspectives including genomes, chemistry, and the ancient sedimentary rock record to illustrate what we can learn about how this process emerged two-and-a-half billion years ago—drawing specifically on the special role of the element manganese in this history.