1st Edition

Organisms Amplify Diversity An Autocatalytic Hypothesis

By David Seaborg Copyright 2023
    254 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    This book presents a hypothesis and evidence that organisms promote and ecosystems maximize biodiversity. All species have a net positive effect on their environment, other species, and diversity. The sun is 30% hotter than when life began, but the temperature has been kept moderate by life. Life created high oxygen, the ozone layer, and fertile soil, a diverse, living system. No species evolves in isolation, and most evolution is coevolution. The nature and number of links between species are as important as species number. Eukaryotes coevolve with complex ecosystems of microbes with which they exchange genes. Genomes and intraspecific interactions both act to promote evolution and diversification. Viruses increase diversity of their hosts and cause macroevolutionary transitions.

    Key Features

    • Life alters the Earth in ways that increase biodiversity
    • All species make their environment better for other species and promote diversity
    • Life created the life-friendly atmosphere, temperature, and soil of today

    Chapter 1. Introduction

    Chapter 2. Life Regulates the Atmosphere’s Greenhouse Gas Levels and the Earth’s Temperature

    Chapter 3. Organisms Created High Oxygen Levels, which Allowed Complex Life to Evolve and Diversify

    Chapter 4. Species Profoundly Affect the Evolution of Other Species; Coevolution is Fundamentally Important and Was Involved in the Vast Majority of Major Evolutionary Transitions

    Chapter 5. In Ecological Succession, Earlier Communities Create Favorable Environmental Conditions for Succeeding, Usually More Complex and Diverse, Communities

    Chapter 6. Life Creates Soil, a Diverse Ecosystem that Benefits Life in the Soil and Above It

    Chapter 7. Eukaryotes are Complex Ecosystems with Diverse Microbiomes, Showing the Importance of Symbiosis and Commensalism, and Challenging the Concept of the Individual

    Chapter 8. Viruses Are by Far the Most Genetically Variable and Biodiverse Group of Organisms, Generate High Diversity in Cellular Organisms, and Are Key Drivers of Major Adaptive Macroevolutionary Breakthroughs in Cellular Organisms

    Chapter 9. Genomes and Their Behaviors Promote Genetic Variability, Evolution, Large Adaptive Evolutionary Innovations, and Diversification; the Amount and Nature of Genetic Variability is Subject to Natural Selection

    Chapter 10. Altruism and Cooperation within Populations Are Often Adaptive, and Maintain Populations and Diversity

    Chapter 11. Network Theory Models and Empirical Evidence Support the Thesis that Coevolved Diversity and Connectance Correlate with Ecosystem Stability, Productivity, Resilience, and Persistence

    Chapter 12. Scientific Laws Indicate the Essential Inevitability of the Chemical Evolution of Life Under Favorable Conditions; a Hypothesis that Incorporates the Autocatalytic Biodiversity Hypothesis Postulates a Tendency for Increase in Information in Systems with Favorable Conditions

    Chapter 13. The Solar System, Sun, Jupiter, Earth’s Moon, and Nonbiological Earth All Aid Life, Suggesting the Autocatalytic Biodiversity Hypothesis Does Not Account for All of Earth’s Biodiversity, and is a Subset of a More General Hypothesis

    Chapter 14. Counter Examples to and Arguments against the Autocatalytic Biodiversity Hypothesis and Answers to Them

    Chapter 15. Implications




    David Seaborg is a renowned evolutionary biologist. He originated the concept that organisms act as feedback systems with respect to their evolution, and that they thus play an important role in guiding their evolution. This concept is a mechanism for punctuated equilibrium. He showed that the standard genetic code is on an adaptive peak, and how populations cross over maladaptive valleys from one adaptive peak to another. He published a hypothesis to explain how homosexuality evolved even though it theoretically reduces the number of offspring produced. He wrote an article on the serious non-climatic effects of excess carbon in the atmosphere. He wrote two books on his influential Autocatalytic Biodiversity Hypothesis, which proposes that all species help their ecosystem and other species, and increase biodiversity, in natural ecosystems.

    He has taught biology from kindergarten to the university level.

    He founded and is President of the World Rainforest Fund, a nonprofit, tax exempt foundation dedicated to saving the Earth’s tropical rainforests and biodiversity by empowering the indigenous people who live in rainforests.

    David conceived the idea for and organized a press conference of Nobel Prize winners on global environmental issues held at the 100th Nobel Prize ceremonies in Stockholm in 2001.