Co-evolution With Ecosystems
Earth, Our Living Planet
Earth is the only astronomical body in the Solar System teeming with life, and its current state reflects its billion-year history. The latter was marked by the co-evolution of the Earth System with its organisms and ecosystems, which were key in creating and maintaining Earth's habitability.
Hidden aspects of this long co-evolution, including the roles of humans, are explained in our book Earth, Our Living Planet – The Earth System and its Co-evolution With Organisms, which combines astronomy, physics, climatology, geology, oceanography, biology, chemistry and ecology. Readers of our book are non-specialists with general knowledge of basic sciences as well as students and researchers wishing to understand the co-evolution of Earth and its organisms.
The Solar System with the Sun, the four rocky planets and our Moon, the asteroid belt, the four gas giant planets, dwarf planet Pluto (largest object in the Kuiper belt), and a comet. The scale is very far from reality. Derivative of Wikimedia.
In our book, we explain the roles of organisms and ecosystems in the Earth System, which is made of the non-living and living components of the planet. Organisms progressively occupied most environments of the planet, diversifying into countless life forms and developing enormous biomasses. In this way, organisms and ecosystems "took over" the Earth System, and thus became major agents in its regulation and global evolution.
Technological developments combined with the large increase in human population caused major changes in the Earth's climate, soils, biodiversity and quality of air and water. Some of the environmental challenges faced by human societies are short-term and others concern the thousand-year future evolution of the Earth's climate. Humans should become the stewards of Earth.
The White Cliffs of Dover, in England, are made of remains of coccolithophores (microscopic planktonic algae) deposited at the bottom of the sea about 70 million years ago. In some areas, the thickness of the resulting chalk exceeds 500 m. Wikimedia.
Hidden Connections and Syntheses
Our book is organised in two parts:
Part 1. In the first eight chapters, we explain hidden connections of the Earth System with the Earth's geology, the Solar System and the Universe. We bring together in one book all these connections, which are poorly known or even unknown to most people.
Part 2. In the last three chapters, we synthesize information from previous chapters into planetary-scale mechanisms. We also consider broader issues concerning the Earth System and human societies, including climate change, ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity, and water and food insecurity. We explain how some global problems have been overcome in the past, and examine approaches required for addressing the ongoing problems.
Modern representatives of microbial carbonate structures that already existed more than 3 billion years ago: thrombolites during low water, Lake Clifton, Australia. Wikimedia.