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1. A hypothesis stating that Earth's biota constitute a single interconnected system that affects or determines the physical and chemical conditions within the biosphere, including such conditions as global temperatures, the composition of the atmosphere, and the salinity of seawater.
2. Any of various related hypotheses stating that this system is self-regulating, as through feedback loops, or that it constitutes a living organism, in either case acting to maintain stable conditions that are optimal for the continuation of life.
[After Gaia, used by British scientist and environmentalist James Lovelock (born 1919) to refer to the totality of Earth's biota as a superorganism.]
Gaia hypothesis(ˈɡaɪə) or
(Biology) the theory that the earth and everything on it constitutes a single self-regulating living entity
Gai′a hypoth`esis(ˈgeɪ ə)
a model of the earth as a self-regulating organism, advanced as an alternative to a mechanistic model.
[1970–75; < Greek gaîa earth; see Gaea]
A theory that the biosphere acts as a selfsustaining, self-regulating organism. British scientist James Lovelock named it after a Greek Earth goddess.