Why O2 is required by complex life on habitable planets and the concept of planetary "oxygenation time".

@article{Catling2005WhyOI,
  title={Why O2 is required by complex life on habitable planets and the concept of planetary "oxygenation time".},
  author={David C. Catling and Christopher R. Glein and Kevin J. Zahnle and Christopher P. McKay},
  journal={Astrobiology},
  year={2005},
  volume={5 3},
  pages={
          415-38
        }
}
Life is constructed from a limited toolkit: the Periodic Table. The reduction of oxygen provides the largest free energy release per electron transfer, except for the reduction of fluorine and chlorine. However, the bonding of O2 ensures that it is sufficiently stable to accumulate in a planetary atmosphere, whereas the more weakly bonded halogen gases are far too reactive ever to achieve significant abundance. Consequently, an atmosphere rich in O2 provides the largest feasible energy source… 

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