March 23, 2017

The Components and Natural Boundries of Biosphere


Vernadsky’s doctrine of the biosphere as a higher level of organization of living matter is a generalization of scientific knowledge. It has absorbed a wide naturalistic and physical-geographical approaches Humboldt (1769-1859), Darwin’s evolutionary ideas, the ideas of Dokuchaev (1846-1903) and other prominent Russian and foreign scientists about the inseparable connection of animate and inanimate nature.

The whole animal, plant, bacterial world of our planet soil cover, and the entire medium of life – the atmosphere, the land, rivers, lakes, about oceans – is the biosphere, the living environment of the Earth.

In general, the biosphere is a global, self-regulating, dynamic, open system with its “entrance” (flow of solar energy and the delivery of some of the chemical elements of the inert nature) and its “output” (part of the substances out of the cycle in “geology”).



For a long time the science of animate and inanimate nature have evolved separately from each other, mutual penetration of these fields of knowledge took place with difficulty.

Humboldt, Lyell, Dokuchaev and Vernadsky found that living and non-living (tap) the components of the earth are interrelated and constitute a single system. The totality of living organisms of the planet he called living matter of the biosphere.

The concept of living matter existed in the natural sciences and philosophy in XIX. But Vernadsky applied this concept to a whole new significance for science. He believed that “life” concept “living” – is not accurate. They go beyond science into the realm of philosophy and religion. Vernadsky proposed the use of an empirical notion of “living matter”. Vernadsky emphasized that living matter he refers to as “the totality of organisms, summarized their weight, chemical composition and energy.” In this understanding of the notion of “living matter” clearly, it has the quantitative characteristics and can learn to describe, measure.

Living matter – an essential component of the biosphere, as it was vital activity of living organisms – a leading factor in the conversion surface of the planet, the very basis of the existence of the biosphere.

The amount of living matter in the biosphere (biomass) is constant or varies little over geologic time, since the organisms that make up the biomass, have a tremendous ability to reproduce – reproduction and distribution on the planet. Modern living substance genetically related living matter of past eras. Life on the planet exists because space solar power. Transforming and accumulating solar energy, all living matter in the geological era influenced the chemical composition of the Earth’s crust, being the powerful geochemical force, transforming the face of the planet.

The composition of the biosphere also includes other components: nonliving nutrients, formed by living matter modern and past geological ages (body waste products, their fossils, oil, coal, peat, sedimentary rocks, such as limestone), inert matter, in the creation of which living matter Is not active (gases, particulates, water vapor emitted by volcanoes, geysers, etc.), bioinert substance produced by both living organisms and inert material (soil, earth’s crust, water inhabited water bodies and so on.).


Since the biosphere – a part of the geological envelope of the Earth, inhabited by living organisms, its boundaries are determined by the existence of life, such as adequate water, minerals, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and favorable temperature conditions, the degree of salinity of the water in the reservoirs, the level of radiation and others.

The upper boundary of the biosphere outlines the ozone layer, which is a kind of screen protects all life from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation. The lower limit is very indented Biosphere includes terrestrial hydrosphere and Oceans, on the continents penetrates the earth’s crust by an average of 3-4 km. Therefore, we can say that the biosphere – is part of the lithosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere, populated by living matter.

The biosphere has existed for almost the entire geological history, so the lower limit of the biosphere is mated with the region, “former biospheres” – so named Vernadsky biosphere preserved remains of past geological periods (accumulation of limestone, coal, oil shale, sedimentary rocks).

Olden biosphere – documentary evidence geologically long-term development of the biosphere. According to recent data, in rocks age of about 3.5-3.8 billion years have found the remains of organisms of different species and forms, i.e., the age of the biosphere is comparable with the geological age of the planet.

Living matter is distributed unevenly in the biosphere: land-based space, densely populated by living organisms (tropical and subtropical), alternating with less populated areas (cold regions, deserts, high mountains, etc.). In the ocean, the greatest concentration of living matter characterized by offshore and coastal areas. At the same time, the productivity of the polar waters (the Barents, Bering, Okhotsk Sea) may be higher than in the equatorial regions of the ocean. Vernadsky singled out two forms of concentration of living matter: the life of the film, which occupy a huge space (planktonic and bottom films seas and oceans), and thickening of life typical of small areas (small ponds, coastal shoals, reefs). For the rest of the biosphere is characterized by “depression of living matter.” However, this does not mean that within the biosphere have lifeless space. Vernadsky emphasized that the ability of living matter of reproduction leads to the spread of “spreading” of living matter on the planet’s surface, causes “the ubiquity of life” and the constant “life pressure” on the stagnant nature. Living matter with instantaneous speed captures all “unoccupied”, “bare” or temporary works from the “pressures of life” areas of the biosphere.

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