Journalist in Residence

Mass Extinction and Recovery Book

PI(s): Peter Brannen (Freelance)
Start Date: 15-Mar-2015
End Date: 3-Apr-2015

I am currently researching and reporting a book to be published by the Harper-Collins imprint, Ecco, about the five major mass extinctions (and recoveries) in Earth’s history. In particular, the book will focus on the huge perturbations in the carbon cycle and climate system that are associated with each and every catastrophe, whether that means carbon dioxide-driven global warming and ocean acidification or devastating glaciation from carbon sequestration. These are the most significant macroevolutionary events in Earth’s history and the selectivity of extinction for each disaster—both for the animals that vanish and those that survive and radiate afterwards—can tell us much about the mechanics of extinction, both in the deep past and in the present, as the Earth once again adapts to a—perhaps unprecedentedly rapid—injection of carbon.