Diversity of Life

The Diversity of LifeCelebrating three decades of Pulse of the Planet, here’s a program from our archives.Ambience, dawn chorusThe sounds of a dawn chorus of birds; just a hint of the incredible diversity of life on our planet. But is there a reason for the superabundance of life- forms? I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Margulis: “Every given organism is producing compounds, gases, and compounds in solution, and those would just accumulate if there weren’t other organisms to remove and interact with those gases and compounds, so diversity runs the ecosystem.”Lynn Margulis is a professor at the University of Massachusetts, and along with James Lovelock, a co-developer of the Gaia hypothesis. The hypothesis states that the earth is a living system, regulated by the activities of the millions of species on its surface. Margulis: “We actually don’t know if in theory we closed off a pond ecosystem or a forest ecosystem whether it would be able to persist in isolation because there’s no evidence that ecosystems are isolated on the surface of the earth, quite the contrary.” “We don’t have any closed ecosystems. That is, no forest is closed, no rainforest is closed, no desert is closed, and no lake is closed.” “In fact, we have very little direct evidence that there is any ecosystem smaller than the surface of the earth.” According to the Gaia hypothesis, the sum of the activities of all the species on earth influences and regulates many features of our planet, including the temperature, and the composition of the air. Gaia, named for the Greek goddess of the earth, represents our planet as a self-regulating, living system. Margulis: “Gaia might be a metaphor. If we believe the earth’s surface is alive, we’re less likely to abuse it than if we believe the earth is a pile of rocks or just some water.”This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Diversity of Life

"We have little evidence that there is any ecosystem smaller than the surface of the earth." This archival program is part of Pulse of the Planet's 30th anniversary celebration. Famed biologist, theorist, educator and author Lynn Margulis (1938- 2011) co-developed the Gaia Hypothesis.
Air Date:06/20/2018
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The Diversity of LifeCelebrating three decades of Pulse of the Planet, here's a program from our archives.Ambience, dawn chorusThe sounds of a dawn chorus of birds; just a hint of the incredible diversity of life on our planet. But is there a reason for the superabundance of life- forms? I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Margulis: "Every given organism is producing compounds, gases, and compounds in solution, and those would just accumulate if there weren't other organisms to remove and interact with those gases and compounds, so diversity runs the ecosystem."Lynn Margulis is a professor at the University of Massachusetts, and along with James Lovelock, a co-developer of the Gaia hypothesis. The hypothesis states that the earth is a living system, regulated by the activities of the millions of species on its surface. Margulis: "We actually don't know if in theory we closed off a pond ecosystem or a forest ecosystem whether it would be able to persist in isolation because there's no evidence that ecosystems are isolated on the surface of the earth, quite the contrary." "We don't have any closed ecosystems. That is, no forest is closed, no rainforest is closed, no desert is closed, and no lake is closed." "In fact, we have very little direct evidence that there is any ecosystem smaller than the surface of the earth." According to the Gaia hypothesis, the sum of the activities of all the species on earth influences and regulates many features of our planet, including the temperature, and the composition of the air. Gaia, named for the Greek goddess of the earth, represents our planet as a self-regulating, living system. Margulis: "Gaia might be a metaphor. If we believe the earth's surface is alive, we're less likely to abuse it than if we believe the earth is a pile of rocks or just some water."This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.