Scientists reveal the evolution of marine biodiversity in the Paleozoic era

Updatetime: 2021-02-09 Editor : trace fossils;the end-Permian mass extinction

The origin and evolution of life are the top ten scientific mysteries in the world and one of the 125 major scientific issues listed in the "Science" magazine. We have pressing, human-generated reasons to explore the influence of environmental change on biodiversity. Prior research resolutions are often too crude and imprecise to assess diversification rates or patterns associated with various global events (gradual, stepwise, or abrupt) and may mask multiple events as well as finer-scale fluctuations.

With the support of the Strategic Priority Research Programs (B) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences etc., the research results on the evolution of marine invertebrate biodiversity from the Cambrian to the early Triassic, which jointly completed by Nanjing University and NIGPAS et al., was published online in Science on January 17, 2020.

Here, the researchers combined with new Chinese data compilation, a new parallel computing implementation of CONOP.SAGA stratigraphic correlation algorithms, and the parallel processing power of the Tianhe II supercomputer have allowed the construction of a high-resolution composite species-diversity history with an average resolving power of 26.0 ± 14.9 kyr. Results indicate that the coarse and uneven temporal resolutions used by previous summaries artificially influenced paleobiodiversity estimations. This analysis confirms the existence of end-Ordovician and end-Permian mass extinctions, a long-term Middle to Late Devonian diversity decline, and a markedly subdued Frasnian–Famennian event.

Looking back can not only help us understand this relationship, but also help us understand current changes. This research is a breakthrough both earth science and data science. Under the framework of the DDE project, and based on global geological big data and efficient Tianhe II supercomputer methods, reconstruction of the complete life evolution history will be realized. 

Reference: Jun-xuan Fan, Shu-zhong Shen*, Douglas H. Erwin, Peter M. Sadler, Norman MacLeod, Qiu-ming Cheng, Xu-dong Hou, Jiao Yang, Xiang-dong Wang, Yue Wang, Hua Zhang, Xu Chen, Guo-xiang Li, Yi-chun Zhang, Yu-kun Shi, Dong-xun Yuan, Qing Chen, Lin-na Zhang, Chao Li, Ying-ying Zhao, 2020, A high-resolution summary of Cambrian to Early Triassic marine invertebrate biodiversity, Science, 367-6475, pp. 272-277. DOI: 10.1126/science.aax4953.

General trajectories of Paleozoic genus and species diversity and species diversity for 10 major fossil groups