How Life Increases Biodiversity: An Autocatalytic Hypothesis


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  • Describes a hypothesis that ecosystems maximize biodiversity
  • Suggests modified version of the dominant paradigm in population biology and evolution
  • Discusses specific examples of events and phenomena that positively affect the diversity of life
  • Presents a new view likely to elicit deeper discussions of biodiversity
How Life Increases Biodiversity: An Autocatalytic Hypothesis Author: Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: Taylor & Francis Ltd Pages: 250 Illustrations and other contents: 6 Illustrations, color Language: English ISBN: 9781138341401 Categories: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Life maximizes biodiversity; this is the hypothesis of this book. An atmosphere favorable for life, including high oxygen and the ozone layer, and favorable nitrogen and carbon dioxide levels stimulated increases in biodiversity. Symbiosis drives diversification and macroevolution; e.g. bacteria makes nitrogen available to plants. Ecosystems interact symbiotically. Horizontal gene transfer, often mediated by viruses, is common, drives major evolutionary transitions, and is “symbiotic evolution.” These observations and others suggest that life has created a positive feedback loop stimulating biodiversity.


1. Introduction: Overview and Summary of the Life Generates Biodiversity Theory
2. Life is Spectacularly Diverse
3. Life Regulates Greenhouse Gas Levels and Global Temperature, while Conserving Carbon
4. Life Created the Atmosphere’s Oxygen
5. Life Built the Soil into an Ideal Ecosystem for Life
6. Plants Profoundly Altered the Landscape, Favoring Biology
7. Mutualism between Species Structures Ecosystems and Caused the Evolution of High Biodiversity
8. Commensalism Maintains High Biodiversity
9. Predation and Parasitism Greatly Increase the Number of Species
10. Seemingly Paradoxically, Even Competition Tends to Increase or at least Maintain Biodiversity
11. The Microbiome and the Hologenome Theory of Evolution
12. Viruses Create High Biodiversity
13. Ecosystems Interact, and Help Each Other, like Mutualistic Species
14. Life Drove the Great Increase in Biodiversity Seen in the History of Life
15. Altruism and Co-operation are Darwinian, Common, and Adaptive, and Maintain Biodiversity
16. Horizontal Gene Transfer Causes Macroevolutionary Leaps
17. The Origin of Life on Earth was Highly Probable, and Systems Tend to Increase in Complexity
18. The Earth and Solar System Act as a System to Favor Life
19. Possible Unifying Mechanisms for Life Generates Biodiversity Theory
20. Environmental and Other Implications of the Life Generates Biodiversity Theory

Weight0.75 kg


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Author Biography

David Seaborg is an evolutionary biologist and Director of Research for the Foundation for Biological Conservation and Research, an evolutionary biology research foundation located in Walnut Creek, California. His undergraduate degree is from the University of California at Davis in zoology, and his graduate degree is from the University of California at Berkeley, also in zoology. He founded and is President of the World Rainforest Fund, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to saving the earth's tropical rainforests and biodiversity. He also founded and headed the Seaborg Open Space Fund, named in honor of his father, to raise money and awareness to save open space from development in central Contra Costa County.