Evolution on Planet Earth

Evolution on Planet Earth

Impact of the Physical Environment

1st Edition - June 19, 2003

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  • Editors: Lynn Rothschild, Adrian Lister
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080494852

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Driving evolution forward, the Earth's physical environment has challenged the very survival of organisms and ecosystems throughout the ages. With a fresh new perspective, Evolution on Planet Earth shows how these physical realities and hurdles shaped the primary phases of life on the planet. The book's thorough coverage also includes chapters on more proximate factors and paleoenvironmental events that influenced the diversity of life. A team of notable ecologists, evolutionary biologists, and paleontologists join forces to describe drifting continents, extinction events, and climate change -- important topics that continue to shape Earth's inhabitants to this very day. In a world where global change has become an international issue, this book provides a several billion-year evolutionary perspective on what the environment and environmental change means to life.

Key Features

* Provides thorough background information on each topic while introducing cutting-edge research
* Features original material solicited from the leading minds in evolutionary biology and geology today
* Emphasizes the influence of massive geological forces - continental drift, volcanic activity, sea and tides


Faculty, advanced undergradutates, graduate students, and researchers in all branches of biology, evolution, earth sciences, astrobiology, and cosmology.

Table of Contents

  • The Physical Setting for Early Life
    An Evolutionary Perspective of Nitrogen Fixation
    The Coupled Evolution of Life and Atmospheric Oxygen
    Chemistry of the Early Oceans
    The Role of Carbon Dioxide in Plant Evolution
    Solar Energy and Life
    Could Life Travel across Interplanetary Space?
    Genome Evolution and the Impact of the Physical Environment
    The Impact of Gravity on Life
    Gravity, the Atmosphere and the Evolution of Animal Locomotion
    Evolution and Low Temperatures
    Temperature, Tectonics, and Evolution
    The Interplay of Physical and Biotic Factors in Macroevolution
    The Causes of Phanerozoic Extinctions
    Drifting Continents and Life on Earth
    Land-Sea Relations and Speciation in the Marine and Terrestrial Realms
    Tectonics, Climatic Change, and the Evolution of Mammalian Ecosystems
    Ice Ages, Species Distributions, and Evolution
    Environmental Variability and Its Impace on Adaptive Evolution, with Special Reference to Human Origins
    The Younger Dryas, Climatic Change, and the Beginnings of Agriculture
    The Physical Constraints on Extraterrestrial Life

Product details

  • No. of pages: 456
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2003
  • Published: June 19, 2003
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080494852

About the Editors

Lynn Rothschild

Lynn J. Rothschild, a Research Scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center, is immersed in the field of Astrobiology. She has broad training in biology, with degrees from Yale University, Indiana University, and Brown University. At NASA her research has focused on how life has evolved in the context of the physical environment, both here and potentially elsewhere. She has studied carbon metabolism and DNA damage and repair in algal mats, work that has taken her to field sites in Baja, Yellowstone National Park and thermal areas on New Zealand. As a result of this work she has become an acknowledged authority in the study of extremophiles, and wrote an invited review on them for Nature (2001). Recent honors have included election to the Presidency of the Social of Protozoologists, founding editor of the International Journal of Astrobiology, and a fellow of the Linnean Society of London. She has made several television and radio appearances, including on the Discovery Channel and World News Tonight, and lectures worldwide including most recently at the Vatican Observatory.

Affiliations and Expertise

NASA, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, USA

Adrian Lister

Adrian Lister is Professor Palaeobiology at University College London. After a degree in Zoology from the University of Cambridge, he began research on Quaternary (Ice Age) mammals and their evolution. Today he is acknowledged as one of the world's leading experts on the biology and evolution of the mammoth and other ice-age species. He has worked on many excavations and fossil collections around the world, and has recently also become active in the field of elephant conservation. He has published over 100 scientific papers and the highly acclaimed book (with Paul G. Bahn) 'Mammoths'. He is on the Council of the Linnean Society of London and is a member of the Elephant working Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In 1998 he was awarded the Stopes Medal of the Geologists' Association for research into the environment of early Man.

Affiliations and Expertise

University College, London, UK

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