Advertisement

Origins of life

, Volume 5, Issue 1–2, pp 93–103 | Cite as

Homeostatic tendencies of the Earth's atmosphere

  • James E. Lovelock
  • Lynn Margulis
Part II/Paleobiology

Abstract

The atmosphere of the earth differs greatly from that of the other terrestrial planets with respect to composition, acidity, redox potential and temperature history predicted from solar luminosity. From the fossil record it can be deduced that stable optimal conditions for the biosphere have prevailed for thousands of millions of years. We believe that these properties of the terrestrial atmosphere are best interpreted as evidence of homeostasis on a planetary scale maintained by life on the surface. Some possible mechanisms of this biological homeostasis have been noted and the implications of this concept for experimental studies pointed out.

Keywords

Atmosphere Experimental Study Organic Chemistry Geochemistry Acidity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alexander, M.: 1961,Introduction to Soil Microbiology, John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Bott, T. L. and Brock, T. D.: 1969,Science 164, 411.Google Scholar
  3. Brock, T. D.: 1966,Principles of Microbial Ecology, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  4. Brock, T. D.: 1970,Biology of Microorganisms, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  5. Cloud, P. E., Jr.: 1968,Science 160, 719.Google Scholar
  6. Dilke, F. W. W. and Gough, D. O.: 1972,Nature 240, 262.Google Scholar
  7. Donahue, T. M.: 1966,Ann. Geophys. 22, 175.Google Scholar
  8. Frieden, E.: 1972,Sci. Am. 227, 52.Google Scholar
  9. Golubic, S.: 1973, in N. G. Carr and B. A. Whitton (eds.),Biology of the Blue-Green Algae, Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 434–472.Google Scholar
  10. Gregor, B. and Van Valen, L.: 1971,Science 174, 316.Google Scholar
  11. Grey, D. C. and Jensen, M. L.: 1972,Science 177, 1099.Google Scholar
  12. Horowitz, N. H., Cameron, R. E., and Hubbard, J. S.: 1972,Science 176, 242.Google Scholar
  13. Hutchinson, G. L., Millington, R. J., and Peters, D.: 1972,Science News 101, 363.Google Scholar
  14. Kushner, D. J.: 1971, in R. Buvet and C. Ponnamperuma (eds.),Chemical Evolution and the Origin of Life, North Holland Publ. Co., Amsterdam, pp. 485–491.Google Scholar
  15. Kvenvolden, K.: 1972,Proc. of the 24th International Geological Congress, Sec. 1, p. 31–41.Google Scholar
  16. Lovelock, J. E.: 1971,Atmospheric Environ. 5, 403.Google Scholar
  17. Lovelock, J. E. and Lodge, J. P., Jr.: 1972,J. Atmospheric Environ. 6, 575–579.Google Scholar
  18. Lovelock, J. E., Maggs, R. J., and Rasmussen, R. A.: 1972,Nature 237, 452–453.Google Scholar
  19. Margulis, L. and Lovelock, J. E.: 1974,Icarus, in press.Google Scholar
  20. Mayr, E.: 1972,Science 176, 981.Google Scholar
  21. Myers, R. D.: 1969, inThe Hypothalamus: Anatomical, Functional and Clinical Aspects, Charles Thomas, Springfield, Illinois, pp. 406–522.Google Scholar
  22. Prevot, A. R. and Fredette, V.: 1966,Manual for the Classification and the Determination of the Anaerobic Bacteria, Lea and Febiger, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  23. Rasmussen, R. A.: 1970,Environ. Sci. Technol. 4, 667.Google Scholar
  24. Rasool, S. and DeBergh, C.: 1970,Nature 226, 1037.Google Scholar
  25. Robinson, E. and Robins, R. C.: 1971, in S. F. Singer (ed.),Global Effects of Environmental Pollution, D. Reidel Publ Co., Dordrecht and Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  26. Sagan, C.: 1970,Planetary Exploration, Condon Lectures, Oregon State System of Higher Education, Eugene, Oregon, p. 31.Google Scholar
  27. Sagan, C. and Mullen, G.: 1972,Science 177, 52.Google Scholar
  28. Schiff, J. A. and Hodson, R. C.: 1970,Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 175, 555.Google Scholar
  29. Schopf, J. W.: 1972, in C. Ponnamperuma (ed.),Exobiology, North Holland Publ. Co., Amsterdam, pp. 6–61.Google Scholar
  30. Schutz, K., Junge, C., Beck, R., and Albrecht, B.: 1970,J. Geophys. Res. 75, 2230.Google Scholar
  31. Sillen, L. G.: 1966,Tellus 18, 198.Google Scholar
  32. Van Valen, L.: 1971,Science 171, 439.Google Scholar
  33. Weinstock, B. and Niki, H.: 1972,Science 176, 290.Google Scholar
  34. Wilson, E. O.: 1971,The Insect Societies, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  35. Yoshida, T. and Alexander, M.: 1970,Proc. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. 34, 880.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • James E. Lovelock
    • 1
  • Lynn Margulis
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of Applied Physical ScienceUniversity of ReadingReadingEngland
  2. 2.Dept. of BiologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations