Life and the Evolution of Earth's Atmosphere

@article{Kasting2002LifeAT,
  title={Life and the Evolution of Earth's Atmosphere},
  author={James F. Kasting and Janet L. Siefert},
  journal={Science},
  year={2002},
  volume={296},
  pages={1066 - 1068}
}
Harvesting light to produce energy and oxygen (photosynthesis) is the signature of all land plants. This ability was co-opted from a precocious and ancient form of life known as cyanobacteria. Today these bacteria, as well as microscopic algae, supply oxygen to the atmosphere and churn out fixed nitrogen in Earth's vast oceans. Microorganisms may also have played a major role in atmosphere evolution before the rise of oxygen. Under the more dim light of a young sun cooler than today's, certain… 
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