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Encyclopedia > Geophysiology

Geophysiology (Geo, earth + physiology, the study of living bodies) is the study of interaction among living organisms on the Earth operating under the hypothesis that the Earth itself acts as a single living organism (Gaia). Adjectives: Terrestrial, Terran, Telluric, Tellurian, Earthly Atmosphere Surface pressure: 101. ... Leonardo da Vincis Vitruvian Man, an important early achievement in the study of physiology. ...

The term "geophysiology" was popularized by James Lovelock as part of his writing about the Gaia hypothesis, but it was in fact foreshadowed by many others. James Hutton (1726-1797), the "Father of Geology" in 1789, in a lecture presented on his behalf by Dr Black, had written "I consider the Earth to be a super-organism and that its proper study should be by physiology." This view that the Earth in some ways could be viewed as a superorganism was widely held in the early 19th century, and was supported even by such early biologists as Huxley (1825-1895). An analogous alternative geophysiology which views the Earth as a single cell was developed by Lewis Thomas in his The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher (1974). James Lovelock in front of a statue of Gaia in 2000 Dr James Ephraim Lovelock CH CBE FRS, (born July 26, 1919) is an independent scientist, author, researcher, environmentalist and futurologist who lives in Cornwall, in the south west of Great Britain. ... The Gaia hypothesis, a hypothesis put forward to explain a number of paradoxes about life and the earth was first formulated in the 1960s, by the independent research scientist James Lovelock. ... this dude has a HUGE nose James Hutton, painted by Abner Lowe. ... A group of organisms, such as an insect colony, that functions as a social unit. ... Thomas Huxley Thomas Henry Huxley F.R.S. (May 4, 1825 – June 29, 1895) was a British biologist, known as Darwins Bulldog for his defence of Charles Darwins theory of evolution. ... Lewis Thomas (November 25, 1913 - December 3, 1993) was a physician, poet, etymologist, essayist, administrator, educator, policy advisor, and researcher. ...

Vladimir Vernadsky (1863-1945), founder of biogeochemistry suggested geophysiological processes were responsible for the development of the Earth through a succession of phases where with the geosphere (of inanimate matter) develops into the biosphere (of biological life). Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky (Владимир Иванович Вернадский) (March 12, 1863, N.S. [ February 28, O.S. ] – January 6, 1945) was a Russian mineralogist and geochemist who first... The field of biogeochemistry involves scientific study of the chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes and reactions that govern the composition of the natural environment (including the biosphere, the hydrosphere, the pedosphere, the atmosphere, and the lithosphere), and the cycles of matter and energy that transport the Earths chemical... In the most general sense, the geosphere is the region of space that is dominated by geogenic matter (originating from and bound to the Earth). ... A false-color composite of global oceanic and terrestrial photoautotroph abundance, from September 1997 to August 2000. ...

Frederick Clements (1874-1945) of the Carnegie Institute of Washington, who popularised the idea of vegetation climax also introduced the idea of physiology to ecology, considering the interlocking natures of plants and animals as metabolic processes within a single superorganism. The Carnegie Institution of Washington (CIW) is a foundation established by Andrew Carnegie in 1902 to support scientific research. ... The term climax community is an ecological term for a community of plants and animals which is the result of succession, where a biological system, a community, or a soil has reached a steady state. ... Ernst Haeckel coined the term oekologie in 1866. ... A few of the metabolic pathways in a cell. ...

The British biologist, Arthur Tansey (1871-1955), who introduced the term ecosystem, also considered that plant communities could be considered to be boundary-less quasi-organisms, although he never extended his ideas to a planetary scale.

G. Evelyn Hutchison, studied the way logistic growth, biological feedback systems and self-regulation tended to explain many of the features of ecological systems, and Raymond Lindeman has further extended the way energy flows between various trophic levels in a "trophic-dynamic" viewpoint, further developed by Mark and Diane McMenamin's thesis of "Hypersea", which looks at the rate of water flow through the Gaian biological environment. Tyler Volk, has also looked at trophic cycling of various elements upon which life depends, is central to an understanding of geophysiology. The logistic function or logistic curve models the S-curve of growth of some set P. The initial stage of growth is approximately exponential; then, as competition arises, the growth slows, and at maturity, growth stops. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Feedback loop. ... For the Macintosh operating system, which was called System up to version 7. ... Social Cognitive Perspective: Zimmerman et al specified three important characteristics: self-observation (monitoring ones activities); self-judgement (self-evaluation of ones performance) and self-reactions (reactions to performance outcomes) Cognitive Processing Perspective Winne & Marx posited that motivational thoughts and beliefs are governed by the basic principles of cognitive... In ecology, the trophic level (Greek trophē, food) is the position that an organism occupies in a food chain - what it eats, and what eats it. ... Tyler Volk is a professor currently teaching at New York University. ...

Eugene Odum believed that homeostasis and stability in ecosystems was a result of evolutionary processes, and Howard Odum (his brother) extended this work to include thermodynamic effects in producing ecological "steady states". Howard Odum also extended the nature of the scale of ecosystems from that of a single pond upwards, showing that a "nested hierarchy", "heterarchy" or "holarchy" existed in which systems could be considered as elements of larger systems (leaf to tree to glade to forest to bioregion to biotic realm or biomes). From this point of view, Gaia theory and geophysiology represents the ultimate extension of these principles. Eugene Pleasants Odum (1913-2002) was an American scientist known for his pioneering work on ecosystem ecology. The average schoolchild of today knows that humans (along with other life forms) depend on adequate conditions of food, water, and shelter from inclement elements, for instance, and also that weather, geological, and... Howard Thomas Odum (1924-2002) was the son of the noted sociologist Howard W. Odum, and brother of the seminal American ecologist, educator, and author Eugene Pleasants Odum. ... A heterarchy is a network of elements which share the same horizontal position of power and authority, each having an equal vote. ... A holarchy, in the terminology of Arthur Koestler, is a hierarchy of holons — where a holon is simply a part of a hierarchy which itself is a complex system. ... An ecoregion is a relatively large area of land or water that contains a geographically distinct assemblage of natural communities. ... A Realm is a primary synonym for a world usually other than our own. ... In Ecology, a biome is a major regional group of distinctive plant and animal communities well adapted to the regions physical environment. ...

The Ecologist Michael Woodley has taken Odum's theory one step further by suggesting a fitness-stability co-selection hypothesis. According to this, not only are homeostasis and stability within ecosystems the result of evolutionary processes, they actually facilitate evolutionary processes also. ecosystems according to Woodley seem to be able to steer the evolution of their components along evolutionary trajectories that can benefit both the ecosystem as a whole and the component species. This process is best illustrated when an ecosystem begins to become saturated and the restriction in free niche space favors increases in species adaptation which will potentially increase the functional diversity within an ecosystem. This could benefit the ecosystem in terms of the invasion resistance and redundancy afforded to it. Woodley argues that ecosystems can compete with one another, and that assembly rules are the unit of selection. It is suggested that the emergence of pernicious invasive species could have been a selective benefit to competing ecosystems. This article is about evolution in biology. ... An ecosystem, a contraction of ecological and system, refers to the collection of biotic and abiotic components and processes that comprise and govern the behavior of some defined subset of the biosphere. ... There are several things called niche, a word English has borrowed from French: Generally, a niche is a special place within the scheme of things. ... Lantana Invasion of abandoned citrus plantation; Moshav Sdey Hemed, Israel; May 2, 2006 The term invasive species refers to a subset of those species defined as introduced species or non-indigenous species. ...

See also

The Earth immune system is a controversial proposal, claimed to be a consequence of the Gaia hypothesis. ... The study of planetary habitability is partly based upon extrapolation from knowledge of the Earths conditions, as the Earth is the only planet currently known to harbor life. ... Earth science (also known as geoscience, the geosciences or the Earth Sciences), is an all-embracing term for the sciences related to the planet Earth. ...


  • Lovelock, James (2001) "Gaia: the practical science of planetary medicine" (Oxford Uni Press) ISBN 0-19-521674-1
  • Volk, Tyler (1997) "Gaia's Body: Towards a Physiology of Earth" (Copernicus Books) ISBN
  • McMenamin Mark A.S. & Diane L.S. McMenamin (1996) "Hypersea: Life on Land" (Columbia Uni Press) ISBN 0-231-07531-6
  • Woodley, Michael (2006) "The Limits of Ecology: New Perspectives from a Theoretical Borderland" (Abramis Academic) ISBN 1-84549-166-1

  Results from FactBites:
Encyclopedia: Geophysiology (1167 words)
Howard Odum also extended the nature of the scale of ecosystems from that of a single pond upards, showing that a "nested hierarchy", "heterarchy" or "holarchy" existed in which systems could be considered as elements of larger systems (leaf to tree to glade to forest to bioregion to biotic realm).
It was James Hutton (1727-1797), considered to be the father of modern geoscience, who suggested that the proper study of the Earth should be "geophysiology".
Geophysiology is a very young science and currently lacks a strong theoretical foundation.
Geophysiology - definition of Geophysiology in Encyclopedia (101 words)
Geophysiology (Geo, earth + physiology, the study of living bodies) is the study of interaction among living organisms on the Earth operating under the hypothesis that the earth itself acts a single living organism (Gaia).
The term "geophysiology" was popularized by James Lovelock as part of his writing about the Gaia hypothesis.
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