Gaia hypothesis


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Gai·a hypothesis

 (gī′ə)
n.
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

Gaia theory

n
(Biology) the theory that the earth and everything on it constitutes a single self-regulating living entity

Gai′a hypoth`esis

(ˈgeɪ ə)
n.
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]

Gaia hypothesis

A theory that the biosphere acts as a selfsustaining, self-regulating organism. British scientist James Lovelock named it after a Greek Earth goddess.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Even more remarkably, he published his first book, and his Gaia hypothesis, when he was already 60.
British scientist James Lovelock, one of the minds behind Gaia hypothesis, said that it's not necessary to reach another planet to know if life exists there.
Faced with this preponderance of evidence, it is time to revive an idea that was once roundly mocked: the Gaia hypothesis. Conceived by the British chemist James Lovelock in the early 1970s and later developed with the American biologist Lynn Margulis, the Gaia hypothesis proposes that all the living and nonliving elements of Earth are "parts and partners of a vast being who in her entirety has the power to maintain our planet as a fit and comfortable habitat for life."
Due to concerns about human-induced climate change here on Earth, explorations of the Gaia hypothesis came to be important to terraforming stories as well, as views of the relationship between humans and their environment shifted from one of conquest to one of symbiotic existence.
James Lovelock has long espoused this position with his Gaia hypothesis. But when we ask ourselves this question, it is not really the technically accurate answer that we seek.
His theory, The Gaia hypothesis, has been at the same time influential and controversial.
The Gaia hypothesis offered a coherent vision of the whole living world that echoed all our wisdom traditions and renewed the human sense of wonder.
During the late 1980s, I discovered the Gaia Hypothesis (later Gaia Theory) at a number of environmental education conferences.
Southampton, UK) offers this careful criticism of Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis, the idea that life itself provides regulatory feedback to the geologic-climate system that keeps it habitable, analogous to organismal homeostasis.
He names the people who pioneered the practical implementation of the concept and describes the ensuing upheavals, the debate on the Limits to Growth after 1972, the Stockholm Conference on the Environment, the reports submitted by the Brandt and Brundtland Commissions, the Gaia Hypothesis, newly coined terms like biodiversity, ecological footprint, renewable resources -and,of course, the 'Spirit of Rio' and the international agreements and conventions inspired by it.
As environmentalist Jim Lovelock, the author of the Gaia hypothesis, put it: "We cannot have both our crops and a steady comfortable climate."
Best known for her work on the origins of eukaryotic cells, symbiogenesis as a force in evolution, and the Gaia hypothesis, Lynn Margulis was a scientist whose lively spirit and frank opinions left behind an enduring legacy that's well worth remembering.