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Two independent calculations suggest that temperate marine zooplankton would starve to death relatively quickly if phytoplankton photosynthesis were to cease. A sudden atmospheric darkening, blocking 99% of sunlight, as might accompany the impact of a large meteor, would be sufficient to stop global photosynthesis. An equation derived from basic principles, solved using North Sea plankton data, gives 9–41 days as the duration of the shortest atmospheric darkening needed to initiate a zooplankton starvation crisis during the spring season. An adaptation of a simple plankton model gives outer limits ranging from 104 days in January to 33 days in July and...

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