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FOLquestions - Portia Mellott Future of Life Questions...

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Portia Mellott October 17, 2007 Future of Life Questions Chapters 1 & 2 Chapter 1 Questions 1. Why does E. O. Wilson write in so much detail about microscopic extremophiles in a book about the future of life on Earth? E.O. Wilson writes in detail about the microscopic extremophiles because they are “…species adapted to live at the edge of biological tolerance” (4). These extremophiles help determine what the future will hold for the life on Earth because they learn how to adapt and change in extreme conditions. The extemophiles will continue to live and reproduce during ice ages and other crazy events even after humans and all other animals have expired. 2. List the three recognized domains of life. The three domains of life include the Bacteria, the Archaea, and the Eukarya. The Bacteria are “conventionally recognized microbes” (5). The Archaea are the other kinds of microbes. Lastly, the Eukarya consist of fungi, animals, humans, and other more complex beings. 3. The concept of Earth as a superorganism is a holistic way of viewing the interactions of all living things to each other and to their physical environment. In this view of the world, what is the function of an individual species? Give an example of a species we have talked about in class and explain its importance from a Gaian perspective. “Alone among the solar planets, Earth’s physical environment is held by its organisms in a delicate equilibrium utterly different from what would be the case in their absence. There is plenty of evidence that even some individual species have a measurable global impact. In the most notable example, the oceanic phytoplankton, composed of microscopic photosynthesizing bacteria, archaeans, and algae, is a major player in the control of the world climate.
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