Navigation Links
New study proposes solution to long-running debate as to how stable the Earth system is
Date:6/10/2013

Researchers at the University of Southampton have proposed an answer to the long-running debate as to how stable the Earth system is.

The Earth, with its core-driven magnetic field, oceans of liquid water, dynamic climate and abundant life is arguably the most complex system in the known Universe. Life arose on Earth over three and a half billion years ago and it would appear that despite planetary scale calamities such as the impacts of massive meteorites, runaway climate change and increases in brightness of the Sun, it has continued to grow, reproduce and evolve ever since.

Has life on Earth simply been lucky in withstanding these events or are there any self-stabilising processes operating in the Earth system that would reduce the severity of such perturbations? If such planetary processes exist, to what extent are they the result of the actions of life?

Forty years ago, James Lovelock formulated his Gaia Hypothesis in which life controls aspects of the planet and in doing so maintains conditions that are suitable for widespread life despite shocks and perturbations. This hypothesis was and remains controversial in part because there is no understood mechanism by which such a planetary self-stabilising system could emerge.

In research published in PLOS Computational Biology, University of Southampton lecturer Dr James Dyke and PhD student Iain Weaver detail a mechanism that shows how when life is both affected by and alters environmental conditions, then what emerges is a control system that stabilises environmental conditions. This control system was first described around the middle of the 20th Century during the development of the cybernetics movement and has until now been largely neglected. Their findings are in principle applicable to a wide range of real world systems - from microbial mats to aquatic ecosystems up to and including the entire biosphere.

Dr Dyke says: "As well as being a fascinating issue in its own right, we quite desperately need to understand what is currently happening to the Earth and in particular the impacts of our own behaviour.

"Pretty much whatever we do, life on Earth will carry on, just as it did for the previous 3.5 billion years or so. It is only by discovering the mechanisms by which our living planet has evolved in the past can we hope to continue to be part of its future."


'/>"/>

Contact: Glenn Harris
G.Harris@soton.ac.uk
44-023-805-93212
University of Southampton
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study by UC Santa Barbara researchers suggests that bacteria communicate by touch
2. Law that regulates shark fishery is too liberal: UBC study
3. New study will help protect vulnerable birds from impacts of climate change
4. Study jointly led by UCSB researcher supports theory of extraterrestrial impact
5. BYU study: Using a gun in bear encounters doesnt make you safer
6. 15-year study: When it comes to creating wetlands, Mother Nature is in charge
7. Pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark extract) shown to improve menopause symptoms in new study
8. Crystal structure of archael chromatin clarified in new study
9. EU-funded study underlines importance of Congo Basin for global climate and biodiversity
10. University of Houston study shows BP oil spill hurt marshes, but recovery possible
11. Study demonstrates cells can acquire new functions through transcriptional regulatory network
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/1/2017)... March 1, 2017  Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE), a ... Richard P. Moberg has resigned, effective March ... Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Aware citing a ... as a member of the Board of Directors of ... co-Chief Executive Officer and co-President, General Counsel has been ...
(Date:2/27/2017)... , Feb. 27, 2017   Strategic Cyber Ventures ... it has led a $3.5 million investment in  Polarity ... Strategic Cyber Ventures is DC based and is led ... Hank Thomas . Ron Gula , also a ... also participated in this series A round of funding. ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... PORTLAND, Ore. , Feb. 22, 2017  IBM ... Companies (Avamere Health Services, Infinity Rehab, Signature Hospice, Home ... that will apply the power of IBM cognitive computing ... health centers. By analyzing data streaming from sensors in ... physical and environmental conditions, and obtain deeper learnings into ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/27/2017)... 2017 DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO), a leading ... data solutions, today announced that it is now offering ... U.S. consumers who want to have their DarioHealth products ... strategic alliance agreements with partners across the U.S. who ... if approved, will supply and bill the customer,s insurance ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ROCKVILLE, Md. , March 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... Venture Fund (MBVF), today announced positive results of a ... standard drug therapy regimen in patients with multidrug-resistant pulmonary ... discovered by scientists at Sequella, Inc. ( USA ... A total of 140 patients were ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 2017 On Thursday, March 23, ... 5,817.69, down 0.07%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged ... 500 closed at 2,345.96, marginally dropping 0.11%. US markets ... green, 4 sectors finished in red, and 1 sector ... initiated reports coverage on the following Biotechnology equities: BioDelivery ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... AxioMed president, Jake Lubinski, describes the AxioMed ... deformed, which is identical to how the human discs work to distribute force. ... to its natural state along a hysteresis curve, exactly like a healthy human ...
Breaking Biology Technology: