“The Gaia hypothesis, proposed 50 years ago, posits that the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere interact as a cybernetic system, maintaining the long-term habitability of the planet. The resulting chemical composition of the atmosphere, oceans and crust is unique as compared to the other planets of our solar system, and due to the presence of life. Together these components comprise the biosphere, the life support system of the planet, with most of the essential processes carried out by microbes….The discoveries of conductive pili and cable bacteria have demonstrated that microbes transfer electrons to and from external sources, sometimes over significant distances, while research on quorum sensing and the plethora of microbial volatile organic substances have provided new insights into how microbes communicate. These advances in microbiology have expanded our understanding how Gaia could actually work.”

  • Keywords: Gaia theory, microbial dark matter, extracellular electron transfer, biogeochemical cycling, climate change
  • Why I love this Resource: An example of a scientific review in the primary science literature. Gaia is the only scientific explanation for how the Earth has remained inhabitable for over 3500 million years while the Sun has grown 25-40% hotter. The new view of biology and evolution have helped focus new attention on the Gaia theory of James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis.
  • Link to Resource: https://academic.oup.com/femsec/article/doi/10.1093/femsec/fiw247/2660414/Gaia-and-her-microbiome
  • Posted By: James MacAllister
  • Date Added: February 1, 2017