Econintersect: A University of Marlyand finding may hold key to Gaia Theory of Earth as Living Organism. The Gaia hypothesis, was proposed by NASA Chemist James Lovelock and microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970’s. It views Earth’s ecosystem as a living organism linking the life forms and inanimate natural processes.
- The Biosphere: All life forms and their interdependence with each other and other spheres
- The Atmosphere: Layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth’s gravity
- The hydrospheres: Combined mass of water found on, under, and over the surface of a planet.
- The Pedosphere: The outermost layer of the Earth that is composed of soil and subject to soil formation processes
First author Harry Oduro, together with UMD geochemist James Farquhar and marine biologist Kathryn Van Alstyne of Western Washington University, provides a tool for tracing and measuring the movement of sulfur through ocean organisms, the atmosphere and the land in ways that may help prove or disprove the controversial Gaia theory.One of the early predictions of this hypothesis was that there should be a sulfur compound made by organisms in the oceans that was stable enough against oxidation in water to allow its transfer to the air. Either the sulfur compound itself, or its atmospheric oxidation product, would have to return sulfur from the sea to the land surfaces. The most likely candidate for this role was deemed to be dimethylsulfide.The ability to do this could help us answer important climate questions, and ultimately better predict climate changesThe tools may ultimately help testing a coupling in the Gaia hypothesis.