Evidence indicates that the Earth self-regulates at a state that is tolerated by life, but why should the organisms that leave the most descendants be the ones that contribute to regulating their planetary environment? The evolving Gaia theory focuses on the feedback mechanisms, stemming from naturally selected traits of organisms, that could generate such self-regulation.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution
Open Access articles citing this article.
Nature Communications Open Access 14 March 2022
Communications Earth & Environment Open Access 04 March 2022
Space Science Reviews Open Access 16 March 2020
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Lovelock, J. E. The Ages of Gaia 2nd edn (Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, (1995).
Darwin, C. The Origin of Species (John Murray, London, (1959).
Doolittle, W. F. Is Nature really motherly? CoEvol. Quart.Spring, 58–63 (1981).
Lovelock, J. E. Aphysical basis for life detection experiments. Nature 207, 568–570 (1965).
Hitchcock, D. R. & Lovelock, J. E. Life detection by atmospheric analysis. Icarus 7, 149–159 (1967).
Lovelock, J. E. Thermodynamics and the recognition of alien biospheres. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 189, 167–181 (1975).
Lovelock, J. E. Gaia as seen through the atmosphere. Atmos. Environ. 6, 579–580 (1972).
Watson, A. J., Lovelock, J. E. & Margulis, L. Methanogenesis, fires and the regulation of atmospheric oxygen. Biosystems 10, 293–298 (1978).
Newman, M. J. & Rood, R. T. Implications of solar evolution for the Earth's early atmosphere. Science 198, 1035–1037 (1977).
Mojzsis, S. J. et al. Evidence for life on Earth before 3,800 million years ago. Nature 384, 55–59 (1996).
Walker, J. C. G., Hays, P. B. & Kasting, J. F. Anegative feedback mechanism for the long-term stabilization of Earth's surface temperature. J. Geophys. Res. 86, 9776–9782 (1981).
Lovelock, J. E. & Margulis, L. Atmospheric homeostasis by and for the biosphere: the gaia hypothesis. Tellus 26, 2–10 (1974).
Margulis, L. & Lovelock, J. E. Biological modulation of the Earth's atmosphere. Icarus 21, 471–489 (1974).
Lovelock, J. E. & Margulis, L. Homeostatic tendencies of the Earth's atmosphere. Origins Life 5, 93–103 (1974).
Lovelock, J. E., Maggs, R. J. & Rasmussen, R. A. Atmospheric dimethyl sulphide and the natural sulphur cycle. Nature 237, 452–453 (1972).
Lovelock, J. E., Maggs, R. J. & Wade, R. J. Halogenated hydrocarbons in and over the Atlantic. Nature 241, 194–196 (1973).
Lovelock, J. E. Gaia — A New Look at Life on Earth (Oxford Univ. Press, (1979).
Whitfield, M. The world ocean: mechanism or machination? Interdisc. Sci. Rev. 6, 12–35 (1981).
Dawkins, R. The Extended Phenotype (Oxford Univ. Press, (1983).
Lovelock, J. E. in Biomineralisation and Biological Metal Accumulation (eds Westbroek, P. & de Jong, E. W.) 15–25 (Reidel, Dordrecht, (1983).
Watson, A. J. & Lovelock, J. E. Biological homeostasis of the global environment: the parable of Daisyworld. Tellus 35B, 284–289 (1983).
Lovelock, J. E. Geophysiology: a new look at earth science. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 67, 392–397 (1986).
Kerr, R. A. No longer willful, Gaia becomes respectable. Science 240, 393–395 (1988).
Lovelock, J. E. Hands up for the Gaia hypothesis. Nature 344, 100–102 (1990).
Lovelock, J. E. Geophysiology, the science of Gaia. Rev. Geophys. 27, 215–222 (1989).
Kump, L. R. & Lovelock, J. E. in Future Climates of the World: A Modelling Perspective (ed. Henderson-Sellers, A.) 537–553 (Elsevier, Oxford, (1995).
Alvarez, W. et al. Impact theory of mass extinctions and the invertebrate fossil record. Science 223, 1135–1141 (1984).
Officer, C. B., Hallam, A., Drake, C. L. & Devine, J. D. Late Cretaceous and paroxysmal Cretaceous/Tertiary extinctions. Nature 326, 143–149 (1987).
Rampino, M. R. Impact cratering and flood basalt volcanism. Nature 327, 468 (1987).
Raup, D. M. & Sepkoski, J. J. Mass extinctions in the marine fossil record. Science 215, 1501–1503 (1982).
Rampino, M. R. & Volk, T. Mass extinctions, atmospheric sulphur and climatic warming at the K/T boundary. Nature 332, 63–65 (1988).
Watson, A. J. Gaia. New Sci. Inside Science 48, 1–4 (1991).
Ehrlich, P. in Scientists on Gaia (eds Schneider, S. H. & Boston, P. J.) 19–22 (MIT, London, (1991).
Schneider, S. H. & Londer, R. The Coevolution of Climate and Life (Sierra Club, San Francisco, (1984).
Holland, H. D. The Chemcial Evolution of the Atmosphere and the Oceans (Princeton Univ. Press, NJ, (1984).
Budyko, M. I. The effect of solar radiation variations on the climate of the Earth. Tellus 21, 611–619 (1969).
Caldeira, K. & Kasting, J. F. Susceptibility of the early Earth to irreversible glaciations caused by carbon dioxide clouds. Nature 359, 226–228 (1992).
Rye, R., Kuo, P. H. & Holland, H. D. Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentraitons before 2.2 billion years ago. Nature 378, 603–605 (1995).
Hayes, J. M. in Early Life on Earth, Nobel Symposium No. 84 (ed. Bengtson, S.) 220–236 (Columbia Univ. Press, New York, (1994).
Evans, D. A., Beukes, N. J. & Kirschvink, J. L. Low-latitude glaciation in the Palaeoproterozoic era. Nature 386, 262–266 (1997).
Schrodinger, E. What is Life? (Cambridge Univ. Press, (1944).
DeDuve, C. Vital Dust (Basic, New York, (1995).
Lovelock, J. E. Geophysiology. Trans. R. Soc. Edinb. Earth Sci. 80, 169–175 (1989).
Lovelock, J. E. & Whitfield, M. Life span of the biosphere. Nature 296, 561–563 (1982).
Lovelock, J. E. & Watson, A. J. The regulation of carbon dioxide and climate: Gaia or geochemistry. Planet. Space Sci. 30, 795–802 (1982).
Schwartzman, D. W. & Volk, T. Biotic enhancement of weathering and the habitabiity of Earth. Nature 340, 457–460 (1989).
Schwartzman, D. W. & Volk, T. Biotic enhancement of weathering and surface temperatures on earth since the origin of life. Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 90, 357–371 (1991).
Lovelock, J. E. Anumerical model for biodiversity. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 338, 383–391 (1992).
Maddock, L. Effects of simple environmental feedback on some population models. Tellus 43B, 331–337 (1991).
Maynard Smith, J. & Szathmary, E. The Major Transitions in Evolution (Freeman, Oxford, (1995).
Hamilton, W. D. Ecology in the large: Gaia and Genghis Khan. J. Appl. Ecol. 32, 451–453 (1995).
Saunders, P. T. Evolution without natural selection: further implications of the Daisyworld parable. J. Theor. Biol. 166, 365–373 (1994).
Keeling, R. in Scientists on Gaia (eds Scheider, S. H. & Boston, P. J.) 118–120 (MIT, London, (1991).
Kirchner, J. W. The Gaia hypothesis: can it be tested? Rev. Geophys. 27, 223–235 (1989).
Stöcker, S. Regarding mutations in Daisyworld models. J. Theor. Biol. 175, 495–501 (1995).
Von Bloh, W., Block, A. & Schellnhuberr, H. J. Self-stabilization of the biosphere under global change: a tutorial geophysiological approach. Tellus 49B, 249–262 (1997).
Harding, S. P. & Lovelock, J. E. Exploiter-mediated coexistence and frequency-dependent selection in a numerical model of biodiversity. J. Theor. Biol. 182, 109–116 (1996).
Harding, S. P. The effects of food web complexity on community stability and climate regulation in a geophysiological model. Tellus(submitted).
Oreskes, N., Shrader-Frechette, K. & Belitz, K. Verification, validation, and confirmation of numerical models in the Earth sciences. Science 263, 641–646 (1994).
Lovelock, J. E. & Kump, L. R. Failure of climate regulation in a geophysiological model. Nature 369, 732–734 (1994).
Laland, K. N., Odling-Smeet, F. J. & Feldman, M. W. The evolutionary consequences of niche construction: a theoretical investigation using two-locus theory. J. Evol. Biol. 9, 293–316 (1996).
Patten, B. C. & Odum, E. P. The cybernetic nature of ecosystems. Am. Nat. 118, 886–895 (1981).
Chapin, F. S. II et al. Biotic control over the functioning of ecosystems. Science 277, 500–504 (1997).
Salati, E. in The Geophysiology of Amazonia: Vegetation and Climate Interactions (ed. Dickinson, R. E.) 273–296 (Wiley, New York, (1987).
Shukla, J., Nobre, C. & Sellers, P. Amazon deforestation and climate change. Science 247, 1322–1325 (1990).
Bonan, G. B., Pollard, D. & Thompson, S. L. Effects of boreal forest vegetation on global climate. Nature 359, 716–718 (1992).
Hansen, J., Ruedy, R., Sato, M. & Reynolds, R. Global surface air temperature in 1995: return to pre-Pinatubo level. J. Geophys. Res. 23, 1665–1668 (1996).
Betts, R. A., Cox, P. M., Lee, S. E. & Woodward, F. I. Contrasting physiological and structural vegetation feedbacks in climate change simulations. Nature 387, 796–799 (1997).
Gallimore, R. G. & Kutzbach, J. E. Role of orbitally induced changes in tundra area in the onset of glaciation. Nature 381, 503–505 (1996).
Foley, J. A., Kutzbach, J. E., Coe, M. T. & Levis, S. Feedbacks between climate and boreal forests during the Holocene epoch. Nature 371, 52–54 (1994).
Otto-Bliesner, B. L. & Upchurch, G. R. J Vegetation-induced warming of high-latitude regions during the Late Cretaceous period. Nature 385, 804–807 (1997).
Klinger, L. F. in Scientists on Gaia (eds Schneider, S. H. & Boston, P. J. ) 247–255 (MIT, London, (1991).
Hamilton, W. D. Gaia's benefits. New Sci. 151, 62–63 (1996).
Charlson, R. J., Lovelock, J. E., Andreae, M. O. & Warren, S. G. Oceanic phytoplankton, atmospheric sulphur, cloud albedo and climate. Nature 326, 655–661 (1987).
Lovelock, J. E. Ageohysiologist's thoughts on the natural sulphur cycle. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 352, 143–147 (1997).
Liss, P. S., Hatton, A. D., Malin, G., Nightingale, P. D. & Turner, S. M. Marine sulphur emissions. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 352, 159–169 (1997).
Andreae, M. O. & Crutzen, P. J. Atmospheric aerosols: biogeochemcial sources and role in atmospheric chemistry. Science 276, 1052–1058 (1997).
Caldeira, K. Evolutionary pressures on planktonic production of atmospheric sulphur. Nature 337, 732–734 (1989).
Wolfe, G. V., Steinke, M. & Kirst, G. O. Grazing-activated chemical defence in a unicellular marine alga. Nature 387, 894–897 (1997).
Hamilton, W. D. & Lenton, T. M. Spora and Gaia: how microbes fly with their clouds. Ethol. Ecol. Evol. 10, 1–16 (1998).
Ravishankara, A. R., Rudich, Y., Talukdar, R. & Barone, S. B. Oxidation of atmospheric reduced sulphur compounds: perspective from laboratory studies. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 352, 171–182 (1997).
Legrand, M. et al. Ice-core record of oceanic emissions of dimethylsulphide during the last climate cycle. Nature 350, 144–146 (1991).
Legrand, M. Ice-core records of atmospheric sulphur. Phil Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 352, 241–250 (1997).
Ayers, G. P. & Gras, J. L. Seasonal relationship between cloud condensation nuclei and aerosol methanesulphonate in marine air. Nature 353, 834–835 (1991).
Falkowski, P. G. et al. Natural versus anthropogenic factors affecting low-level cloud albedo over the North Atlantic. Science 256, 1311–1313 (1992).
Roemmich, D. & McGowan, J. Climatic warming and the decline of zooplankton in the California current. Science 267, 1324–1326 (1995).
Andreae, M. O. in The Role of Air–Sea Exchange in Geochemical Cycling (ed. Buat-Menard, P.) 331–362 (Reidel, Dordrecht, (1986).
Turner, S. M., Malin, G., Liss, P. S., Harbour, D. S. & Holligan, P. M. The seasonal variation of dimethyl sulphide and dimethylsulfonioproprionate concentrations in nearshore waters. Limnol. Oceanogr. 33, 364–375 (1988).
Gage, D. A. et al. Anew route for synthesis of dimethylsulphoniopropionate in marine algae. Nature 387, 891–894 (1997).
Liss, P. S. & Galloway, J. N. in Interactions of C, N, P and S Biogeochemical Cycles and Global Change (eds Wollast, R., Mackenzie, F. T. & Chou, L.) 259–281 (Springer, Berlin, (1993).
Eisele, F. L. & McMurray, P. H. Recent progress in understanding particle nucleation and growth. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 352, 191–201 (1997).
Watson, A. J. in Gaia in Action, Science of the Living Earth (ed. Bunyard, P.) 65–74 (Floris, Edinburgh, (1996).
Wayne, R. P. Chemistry of Atmospheres 2nd edn (Oxford Univ. Press, (1991).
Mackenzie, F. T., Ver, L. M., Sabine, C., Lane, M. & Lerman, A. in Interactions of C, N, P and S Biogeochemical Cycles and Global Change (eds Wollast, R., Mackenzie, F. T. & Chou, L.) 1–61 (Springer, Berlin, (1993).
Brasseur, G. P. & Chatfield, R. B. in Trace Gas Emission from Plants (eds Sharkey, T. D., Holland, E. A. & Mooney, H. A.) 1–27 (Academic, San Diego, (1991).
Holland, H. D. The Chemistry of the Atmosphere and Oceans (Wiley, New York, (1978).
Jackson, T. A. & Keller, W. D. Acomparitive study of the role of lichens and “inorganic” processes in the chemical weathering of recent Hawaiian lava flows. Am. J. Sci. 269, 446–466 (1970).
Kasting, J. F., Whitmore, D. P. & Reynolds, R. T. Habitable zones around main sequence stars. Icarus 101, 108–128 (1993).
Lotka, A. Elements of Mathematical Biology (Dover, New York, (1956).
I thank J. E. Lovelock and S. J. Lovelock for inspiration and support; J. E. Lovelock for earlier versions of the rock-weathering and mutating Daisyworld models; J. Maynard Smith and W. D. Hamilton for encouragement; J. R. Lenton, M. Whitfield, A. J. Watson, S. P. Harding, S. M. Turner, P. S. Liss, T. Tyrrell, C. Barlow and T. Volk for comments on the manuscript; UEA for a research studentship; the Gaia Charity for additional funding; and Plymouth Marine Laboratory for providing facilities.
About this article
Cite this article
Lenton, T. Gaia and natural selection. Nature 394, 439–447 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1038/28792
This article is cited by
Nature Communications (2022)
Communications Earth & Environment (2022)
Nature Geoscience (2021)
Space Science Reviews (2020)
Space Science Reviews (2020)