The Gaia Hypothesis: Conjectures and Refutations

  title={The Gaia Hypothesis: Conjectures and Refutations},
  author={James W. Kirchner},
  journal={Climatic Change},
  • J. Kirchner
  • Published 1 May 2003
  • Environmental Science
  • Climatic Change
The uncertainties surrounding global climate change provide ample evidence, if any were necessary, of the need for a whole-system view of the Earth. Arguably the most visible – and controversial – attempt to understand Earth as a system has been Lovelock's Gaia theory. Gaia has been a fruitful hypothesis generator, and has prompted many intriguing conjectures about how biological processes might contribute to planetary-scale regulation of atmospheric chemistry and climate. In many important… 
Beyond Gaia: Thermodynamics of Life and Earth System Functioning
Are there any general principles that govern the way in which life affects Earth system functioning? Most prominently, the Gaia hypothesis addresses this question by proposing that near-homeostatic
Thermodynamics and environmental constraints make the biosphere predictable – a response to Volk
I do not think that Volk makes convincing arguments that contradict MEP, although I certainly agree that there is a lot more work to be done to fully recognize the great importance that thermodynamics and MEP play in shaping the Earth’s biosphere and its evolutionary history.
Do evolution and ecology need the Gaia hypothesis?
The Emergence of Environmental Homeostasis in Complex Ecosystems
It is argued that the cybernetic concept of rein control provides insights into how this model system, and potentially any system that is comprised of biological to environmental feedback loops, self-organises into homeostatic states.
Environmental regulation in a network of simulated microbial ecosystems
This work presents an evolutionary simulation model in which environmental regulation involving higher-level selection robustly emerges in a network of interconnected microbial ecosystems, and suggests a mechanism for environmental regulation that is consistent with evolutionary theory.
Melanie Lenart: Life in the hothouse: how a living planet survives climate change
  • A. Prasad
  • Environmental Science
    Landscape Ecology
  • 2012
After reading a couple of chapters of the book, I thought the title would have conveyed the spirit of the book better if it had read ‘‘Life in the Hothouse—how Gaia copes with climate change’’. The
The GAIA theory: from Lovelock to Margulis. From a homeostatic to a cognitive autopoietic worldview
This work consists of two parts. The first presents the state of art concerning the history and the reception by the scientific community of the Gaia hypothesis introduced in the 1970s and which
Huntington and Lovelock: Climatic Determinism in the 20th Century
Collectively, Huntington's and Lovelock's ideas demonstrate a range of deterministic theories in explaining the consequences of climatic processes and are relevant to current global change studies.
Microbial Gaia: a new model for the evolution of environmental regulation
In recent years technological advances have led to a much greater understanding of the microbial world, and the authors now understand (a little) how microbes metabolise, grow, and reproduce, and comprehend (a bit) how microbial genetics works, complete with lateral gene transfer.
Environmental regulation can arise under minimal assumptions.


The Gaia hypothesis: Can it be tested?
The Gaia hypothesis' central theme is that biological processes homeostatically maintain, on a planetary scale, geochemical and climatic conditions favorable for life. A number of distinct hypotheses
Failure of climate regulation in a geophysiological model
THERE has been much debate about how the Earth responds to changes in climate—specifically, how feedbacks involving the biota change with temperature. There is in particular an urgent need to
Carbon dioxide and climate over the past 300 Myr
  • G. Retallack
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
  • 2002
Large and growing databases on these proxy indicators support the idea that atmospheric CO2 and temperature are coupled, and CO2–temperature uncoupling has been proposed from geological time–series of carbon isotopic composition of palaeosols and of marine phytoplankton compared with foraminifera.
The Gaia Hypothesis: Fact, Theory, and Wishful Thinking
The Gaia hypothesis advances three central propositions: that biologically mediated feedbacks contribute to environmental homeostasis, that they make the environment more suitable for life, and that such feedbacks should arise by Darwinian natural selection.
Toward a Future for Gaia Theory
The three papers in this issue of Climatic Change (Kirchner, 2002; Kleidon, 2002; Lenton, 2002) are probably the most concentrated effort in recent years by several prominent theoreticians of the
Biotic Feedbacks in the Warming of the Earth
A positive correlation exists between temperature and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane over the last 220,000 years of glacial history, including two glacial and three
Marine biological controls on climate via the carbon and sulphur geochemical cycles
We review aspects of the influence of the marine biota on climate, focusing particularly on their role in mediating surface temperatures via their influence on atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) and
Testing the Effect of Life on Earth's Functioning: How Gaian Is the Earth System?
It is concluded that life has indeed a strong tendency to affect Earth in a way which enhances the overall benefit (that is, carbon uptake), however, this does not imply that the biota regulates Earth's environment for its own benefit.
Acceleration of global warming due to carbon-cycle feedbacks in a coupled climate model
Results from a fully coupled, three-dimensional carbon–climate model are presented, indicating that carbon-cycle feedbacks could significantly accelerate climate change over the twenty-first century.
The dynamic greenhouse: Feedback processes that may influence future concentrations of atmospheric trace gases and climatic change
The sensitivity of the climate system to anthropogenic perturbations over the next century will be determined by a combination of feedbacks that amplify or damp the direct radiative effects of