An analysis of the impact of the Gaia Theory on Ecology and Evolutionary Theory


This paper investigates the impact of ideas published within the Gaia theory (as set out by James Lovelock in 1979), on the study of Ecology and Evolutionary Theory. Developments within both disciplines have been influenced, and shaped by the Gaia theory and the paper discusses these. The development of the Daisyworld model, which highlighted for ecologists the importance of interactions within an ecosystem between the biota and the abiotic world, contributed to the understanding of biodiversity. The Gaia theory also predicted the causal link between increased biodiversity and increasing stability of populations. The Gaian influence on the development of Evolutionary theory can be found in the idea that life on earth works with the abiotic environment as a self-regulatory system. This idea became the foundation of Earth System Science. These developments have had a wider significance to the study and understanding of science in general. The theory has demonstrated the need for a new way of looking at the development and sustainability of life on earth.

Links to resources

Teaching subject area



Gaia Theory, Ecology, Biodiversity, Evolutionary Theory, Lovelock, Dawkins

Date produced


Faculty or department

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of Social Sciences


copyright Oxford Brookes University, except where indicated in the item description


  • Owner: Thomas Shepherd
  • Collection: OER
  • Version: 1 (show all)
  • Status: Live