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The University of Southampton
Interdisciplinary Research Excellence

10 reasons not to reject the Gaia Hypothesis Event

16:00 - 17:00
15 May 2015
NOC Southampton - Henry Charnock Lecture Theatre (Waterfront Campus).

For more information regarding this event, please email Laura Grange at .

Event details

The Earth, with its core-driven magnetic field, convective mantle, mobile lid tectonics, oceans of liquid water, dynamic climate and abundant life is arguably the most complex system in the known universe.

This system has exhibited stability in the sense of, bar a number of notable exceptions, surface temperature remaining within the bounds required for abundant liquid water and so a significant biosphere. Explanations for this range from anthropic principles in which the Earth was essentially lucky, to homeostatic Gaia in which the abiotic and biotic components of the Earth system self-organise into homeostatic states that are robust to a wide range of external perturbations.

Homeostatic Gaia would appear to be very unlikely in that there are no plausible mechanisms by which a biosphere could self organise in such a manner. For example, while there are clear adaptive advantages to certain forms of organismic homeostasis, natural selection is not a mechanism that can be applied to planets.

In this talk I will discuss the plausibility of homeostatic Gaia. I will show that rather than requiring a set of specially crafted assumptions, Gaian homoeostasis may emerge as a consequence of feedback loops operating between life and its environment. This mechanism is compatible with our understanding of biological evolution and in fact can be understood as requiring it.

Speaker information

Dr James Dyke,Lecturer of Complex Systems Simulation

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