Biosphere

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Our biosphere is the global sum of all ecosystems. It can also be called the zone of life on Earth, a closed (apart from solar and cosmic radiation) and self-regulating system.[1] From the broadest biophysiological point of view, the biosphere is the global ecological system integrating all living beings and their relationships, including their interaction with the elements of the lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. The biosphere is postulated to have evolved, beginning through a process of biogenesis or biopoesis, at least some 3.5 billion years ago.[2]

In a broader sense; biospheres are any closed, self-regulating systems containing ecosystems; including artificial ones such as Biosphere 2 and BIOS-3; and, potentially, ones on other planets or moons.[3]

Contents

Origin and use of the term

The term "biosphere" was coined by geologist Eduard Suess in 1875, which he defined as:[4]

While this concept has a geological origin, it is an indication of the impact of both Darwin and Maury on the earth sciences. The biosphere's ecological context comes from the 1920s (see Vladimir I. Vernadsky), preceding the 1935 introduction of the term "ecosystem" by Sir Arthur Tansley (see ecology history). Vernadsky defined ecology as the science of the biosphere. It is an interdisciplinary concept for integrating astronomy, geophysics, meteorology, biogeography, evolution, geology, geochemistry, hydrology and, generally speaking, all life and earth sciences.

Gaia hypothesis

The concept that the biosphere is itself a living organism, either actually or metaphorically, is known as the Gaia hypothesis.

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