Civilization’s Life-Support System: Biosphere Earth

A reading of The Value of Biosphere Earth, part 3: "Ecosystem Services" by researcher/author, Chris Searles. From brain formation to oxygen supply, Earth's other life is responsible for just about everything that makes our lives possible. (Scroll down for citations.) Earth's composition of life and living ecosystems is everything to us humans. "Ecosystem services" -- the academic term for Earth's literal, planetary life-support system services, are the products, conditions, bodies, functionalities, services, communities, other companions, and more we typically take for granted, which are generated by the Life before and around us today.

Earth’s global life-support system is composed of a continuous life-interaction of water-based/atmospheric/landscape/and subterranean micro and macro organisms. Please check out the prior two podcasts in this series for more info. Biosphere Earth provides for just about every aspect of human identity and existence. This series seeks to connect people of all backgrounds to a better understanding of what our life-support system is and how its integrity is our #1 economic and shared priority. This episode synopsizes what Earth's complex biosphere does for us. 


Read The Value of Biosphere Earth, part 3: Ecosystem Services  

About Chris Searles


Map of Earth’s vertebrate biodiversity concentrations on land.
• Data: Jenkins, Pimm, Joppa. Global patterns of terrestrial vertebrate diversity and conservation. PNAS 110 (28) E2602-E2610;
• Image: Globaia / ESO Supernova. Biodiversity on Earth. European Southern Observatory. (Retrieved 2021)

1. “Ecosystem Services” is irrelevant to the average human being.
• Thompson, et al. Ecosystem – What? Public Understanding and Trust in Conservation Science and
Ecosystem Services. Front. Commun., 1. (2016)

2. Some definitions of Ecosystem Services.
• Intergovernmental Panel on Science Policy and Ecosystem Services. Core Glossary. IPBES. Retrieved
• Danley, Widmark. Evaluating conceptual definitions of ecosystem services and their implications.
Ecological Economics 126, 132-138. (2016)
• Antle, et al. Ecosystems and their goods and services. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. AR5
2014: Climate Change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. (2014)
• Uncredited authors. Ecosystem services for human well-being. The Secretariat of the Convention on
Biological Diversity. (2008)
• Uncredited authors. Ecosystems and their wellbeing, Chapter 02: Ecosystems and their services.
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. (2005)

3. Ecosystem services keep humans alive and make possibility possible.
• Daily, G., editor. Nature's Services: Societal Dependence On Natural Ecosystems. Island Press. ISBN:
1559634766. (1997)

4. “Are these not of the living Earth?”
• Orange, T. There There. Vintage. ISBN: O525520376. (2019)

5. Ecosystems and their biodiversity have generated the platform for all known physical, emotional, mental, psychological, spiritual, conscious, and subconscious experiences for organisms.
• European Commission. Ecosystem Goods and Services. European Commission Publications Office. (2009)

6. All ecosystems interact to create Earth’s life-support system.
 > Ocean life integration
• Friendlingstein, et al. Global Carbon Budget 2020. Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 12, 3269–3340. (2020)
• Rasher, et al. Keystone predators govern the pathway and pace of climate impacts in a subarctic marine ecosystem. Science Vol. 369, 6509, 1351-1354. (2020)
• Behrenfeld, et al. Global satellite-observed daily vertical migrations of ocean animals. Nature 576, 257–261. (2019)
• Basu, Mackey. Phytoplankton as Key Mediators of the Biological Carbon Pump. Sustainability, 10, 869. (2018)
• Delevaux, et al. Scenario planning with linked land-sea models inform where forest conservation actions will promote coral reef resilience. Sci Rep 8, 12465. (2018)
• Graham, et al. Seabirds enhance coral reef productivity and functioning in the absence of invasive rats. Nature 559, 250–253. (2018)
• Barbier. Marine Ecosystem Services. Current Biology, Vol. 27, Issue 11, R507-R510. (2017)
• Howard, et al. Clarifying the role of coastal and marine systems in climate mitigation. Frontiers in Ecology 15 (1), 42-50. (2017)
• Leigh, et al. Seagrass digestion by a notorious carnivore. The Royal Society 285, 1886. (2018)

> Atmospheric life integration
• Hayden. The role of the biosphere in the Earth-atmosphere system. Encyclopedia Britannica online. [Retrieved 1 January 2021]
• Green, et al. Regionally strong feedbacks between the atmosphere and terrestrial biosphere. Nature Geoscience 10(6):410-414. (2017)
• Wilson, et al. A marine biogenic source of atmospheric ice-nucleating particles. Nature 525, 234–238. (2015)
• Katul, et al. Evapotranspiration: A process driving mass transport and energy exchange in the soil-plant-atmosphere-climate system. Reviews of Geophysics, Vol. 50, Issue 3. (2012)
• Lelieveld, et al. Atmospheric oxidation capacity sustained by a tropical forest. Nature 452, 737–740. (2008)

> Freshwater life integration
• Migliorini, Romero. Warming and leaf litter functional diversity, not litter quality, drive decomposition in a freshwater ecosystem. Sci Rep 10, 20333. (2020)
• Silknetter, et al. Positive biotic interactions in freshwaters: A review and research directive. FreshwaterBiology 65, 4: 811-832. (2020)
• Grossart, et al. Fungi in aquatic ecosystems. Nat Rev Microbiol 17, 339–354. (2019)
• National Research Council. Valuing Ecosystem Services: Toward Better Environmental Decision-Making. National Academies Press. ISBN: 978-0-309-09318-7. (2005)
• Ushio, et al. Fluctuating interaction network and time-varying stability of a natural fish community. Nature 554, 360–363. (2018)

> Landscape life integration
• Liu, et al. A latitudinal gradient of plant–insect interactions during the late Permian in terrestrial ecosystems? Global and Planetary Change Vol. 192, 103248. (2020)
• Watson, et al. The exceptional value of intact forest ecosystems. Nature Ecol & Evol 2, 599-610. (2018)
• Ellison, et al. Trees, forests, water: Cool insights for a hot world. Global Environmental Change 43: 51-61. (2017)
• Keys, et al. Approaching Moisture Recycling Governance. Global Environmental Change 45: 15-23. (2017)
• Tecon, Or. Biophysical processes supporting the diversity of microbial life in soil. FEMS Microbiology Reviews, Vol. 41, 599–623. (2017)
• Alkama, Cescatti. Biophysical climate impacts of recent changes in global forest cover. Science Vol. 351, Issue 6273, pp. 600-604. (2016) h Poorter, et al. Diversity enhances carbon storage in tropical forests. Global Ecology and Biogeography 14, 11, 1313-1328. (2015)
• Bauer, Hoye. Migratory Animals Couple Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning Worldwide. Science 344 Issue 6179. (2014)
• Soulé, et al. The role of connectivity in Australian conservation. Pacific Conservation Biology 10(4) 266–279. (2004)
• Wetzel, et al. Variability in plant nutrients reduces insect herbivore performance. Nature 539, 425–427. (2016)

> Subterranean & Microbial life integration:
• West, et al. Under the karst: detecting hidden subterranean assemblages using eDNA metabarcoding in the caves of Christmas Island, Australia. Sci Rep 10, 21479. (2020)
• Sar, et al. Deep Biosphere: Microbiome of the Deep Terrestrial Subsurface. Microbial Diversity in Ecosystem Sustainability and Biotechnological Applications. Vol. 1, pp 225-265. Springer Singapore. ISBN: 978-981-13-8315-1. (2019)
• Gabbatiss. Massive ‘deep life’ study reveals billions of tonnes of microbes living far beneath Earth’s surface. The Independent. (2018)
• Orsi, et al. Gene expression in the deep biosphere. Nature 499, 205–208 (2013).
• Nealson, Ghiorse, Strauss. Geobiology: Exploring the Interface Between the Biosphere and the Geosphere. American Society for Microbiology. (2001) Micro to Macro Organisms integration:
• Eisenstein. Microbial matters: modeling the complex web of host-microbiome interactions. Nature 581, 489-490. (2020)
• Enquist, et al. The megabiota are disproportionately important for biosphere functioning. Nature Communications 11, 699. (2020)
• Cernansky. The biodiversity revolution. Nature Vol 546. (2017)
• Duffy, et al. Biodiversity effects in the wild are common and as strong as key drivers of productivity. Nature 549, 261–264. (2017)
• Guimarães, et al. Indirect effects drive coevolution in mutualistic networks. Nature 550, 511–514. (2017)
• Laforest-Lapointe, et al. Leaf bacterial diversity mediates plant diversity and ecosystem functio relationships. Nature 546, 145–147. (2017)
• Moyroud, et al. Disorder in convergent floral nanostructures enhances signalling to bees. Nature 550, 469–474. (2017)

> Big picture life integrations
• Hutton. The predator-prey power law: Biomass scaling across terrestrial and aquatic biomes. Science Vol. 349, Issue 6252. (2015)
• Bauer, Hoye. Migratory Animals Couple Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning Worldwide. Science 344(6179):1242552. (2014)
• Block, et al. Tracking apex marine predator movements in a dynamic ocean. Nature 475, 86–90. (2011) 
• Malmstrom. Ecologists Study the Interactions of Organisms and Their Environment. Nature Education Knowledge 3(10):88. (2010)
• Hutchinson, et al. the Biosphere. Scientific American / W.H. Freeman & Company. ISBN: 9780716709459. (1970)

7. Integrated multifunctionality
• Stachowiz, Bruno, Duffy. Understanding the Effects of Marine Biodiversity on Communities and
Ecosystems. Annual Review of Ecol, Evol and Sys 38:739-766. (2007)

8. Ecosystem service-blindness is leading Civilization to destroy its life-support system.
• Plumptre, et al. Where might we find ecologically intact communities? Front. For. Glob. Change. 4 (2021)
• Watson, et al. Protect the last of the wild. Nature 563, 27-30 (2018).

9. Earth’s ecosystem services are immediately in jeopardy of collapse.
• Bologna, Aquino. Deforestation and world population sustainability: a quantitative analysis. Sci
Rep 10, 7631. (2020)
• Ceballos, et al. "Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate
population losses and declines". PNAS. 114 (30): E6089–E6096. (2017)
• Rockström, et al. Planetary boundaries reference page. Stockholm Resilience Centre. Retrieved 10/7/21.
• Newbold, et al. Has land use pushed terrestrial biodiversity beyond the planetary boundary? A global
assessment. Science 353, 6296, pp. 288-291. (2016)
• Barnosky, A., Hadly, E., Bascompte, J. et al. Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere. Nature 486, 52–
58 (2012).
11 A Single ecosystem may generate some of all of the ecosystems services.
• Daily, G., editor. Nature's Services: Societal Dependence On Natural Ecosystems. Island Press. ISBN:
1559634766. (1997)

10. Some lists of Ecosystem Services.
• Ibid all citations in 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 above.


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