This text provides an accessible introduction to critical changes in the biosphere that have occurred since life's origin. Based on a course developed by Lynn Margulis and colleagues over many years, it presents an integrated view of how our planet evolved. "Environmental Evolution" differs from Earth-science textbooks in its consideration of geology as it is shaped by life. Fifteen scientists reflect on major events in the history of life on Earth. Comparisons with the atmospheres of other planets, laboratory studies on the origins of life, and fossil evidence of microbial communities all contribute to the story of early life and its environment. The ability of modern bacteria to trap, bind, and precipitate calcium carbonate explains the presence of stromatolites from the Archean and Proterozoic eons. Evidence from cell biology provides clues to the origin of eukaryotic cells by multiple serial symbiosis. Transcending academic boundaries, the Gaia hypothesis shows how the sensing, growing, excreting, gas-exchanging, sediment-binding biota (plants, animals, and microbes) have irreversibly altered the third planet - from the origin of life some 14 billion years ago to the present. "Environmental Evolution" includes a glossary, charts and tables, lists of recommended readings, and an appendix that offers strategies for teaching, sample syllabuses, and suggestions for assignments and class presentations. Contributors include E.S. Barghorn, R. Buchsbaum, D.Deamer, S. Golubic, A. Knoll, A. Lazcano, J.E. Lovelock, L. Margulis, C. Matthews, M. Mc Elroy, C. Ponnamperuma, R. Siever, P. Strother, T. Swain, and N. Todd.
Science, Biological Sciences, Biology,