You are on page 1of 2

The biosphere also known as the ecosphere, is the worldwide sum of all ecosystems.

The two
joined words are "bio" and "sphere". It can also be termed as the zone of life on Earth, a closed
system (apart from solar and cosmic radiation and heat from the interior of the Earth), and largely
self-regulating.[1] By the most general biophysiological definition, the biosphere is the
global ecological system integrating all living beings and their relationships, including their interaction
with the elements of the lithosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere. The biosphere is
postulated to have evolved, beginning with a process of biopoiesis (life created naturally from non-
living matter, such as simple organic compounds) or biogenesis (life created from living matter), at
least some 3.5 billion years ago.[2][3] The earliest evidence for life on
Earth includes biogenic graphite found in 3.7 billion-year-old metasedimentary rocks from Western
Greenland[4] and microbial mat fossils found in 3.48 billion-year-old sandstone from Western
Australia.[5][6] More recently, in 2015, "remains of biotic life" were found in 4.1 billion-year-old rocks in
Western Australia.[7][8] In 2017, putative fossilized microorganisms (or microfossils) were announced
to have been discovered in hydrothermal vent precipitates in the Nuvvuagittuq Belt of Quebec,
Canada that were as old as 4.28 billion years, the oldest record of life on earth, suggesting "an
almost instantaneous emergence of life" after ocean formation 4.4 billion years ago, and not long
after the formation of the Earth 4.54 billion years ago.[9][10][11][12] According to one of the researchers, "If
life arose relatively quickly on Earth ... then it could be common in the universe."[7]
In a general sense, biospheres are any closed, self-regulating systems containing ecosystems. This
includes artificial biospheres such as Biosphere 2 and BIOS-3, and potentially ones on other planets
or moons.[13]

Contents
[hide]

1Origin and use of the term


o 1.1Narrow definition
2Extent of Earth's biosphere
3Specific biospheres
4Extraterrestrial biospheres
5See also
6References
7External links

Origin and use of the term[edit]

A beach scene on Earth, simultaneously showing the lithosphere (ground), hydrosphere (ocean) and
atmosphere (air)
The term "biosphere" was coined by geologist Eduard Suess in 1875, which he defined as the place
on Earth's surface where life dwells.[14]
While the concept has a geological origin, it is an indication of the effect of both Charles
Darwin and Matthew F. Maury on the Earth sciences. The biosphere's ecological context comes
from the 1920s (see Vladimir I. Vernadsky), preceding the 1935 introduction of the term "ecosystem"
by Sir Arthur Tansley (see ecology history). Vernadsky defined ecology as the science of the
biosphere. It is an interdisciplinary concept for
integrating astronomy, geophysics, meteorology, biogeography, evolution, geology, geochemistry, h
ydrology and, generally speaking, all life and Earth sciences.

Narrow definition[edit]
Geochemists define the biosphere as being the total sum of living organisms (the "biomass" or
"biota" as referred to by biologists and ecologists). In this sense, the biosphere is but one of four
separate components of the geochemical model, the other three being geosphere, hydrosphere,
and atmosphere. When these four component spheres are combined into one system, it is known as
the Ecosphere. This term was coined during the 1960s and encompasses both biological and
physical components of the planet.[15]
The Second International Conference on Closed Life Systems defined biospherics as the science
and technology of analogs and models of Earth's biosphere; i.e., artificial Earth-like
biospheres.[16] Others may include the creation of artificial non-Earth biospheresfor example,
human-centered biospheres or a native Martian biosphereas part of the topic of biospherics.[citation
needed]