The Evolution of the Biosphere

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THE STUDY OF THE BIOSPHERE The term 'biosphere' first appeared in the works of the French biologist 1.-B. Lamarck and the Austrian geologist E. Suess in the 19th century. In the 20th century, the study of the biosphere attracted considerable attention, largely due to the research of V. I. Vernadsky (1863- 1945). The results Qf Vernadsky's investigations have appeared in a number of publications, including the monograph The Biosphere published in 1926. This work consists of two parts, The Biosphere in Cosmos' and The Zone of Life', written in a form of speculation and reflection that is rarely used in modern studies. This work concerns the distinguishing properties of the space occupied by organisms and the exceptional importance of the activities of these organisms in the formation of their environment. In this and subsequent studies, Vernadsky has laid the foundations of the science of the biosphere, which today plays an important role in th.c many branches of science concerned with the Earth. Several terms have been suggested for the science of the biosphere, including global ecology (a discipline studying the global ecological system, whose meaning is close to that of the biosphere). One of the most prominent predecessors of Vernadsky was his teacher V.