The co-evolution of life and organics on earth: Expansions of energy harnessing

Guo-Xin Sun, Song-Can Chen, Gang Li, Long-Jun Ding, Brian Reid, Philippe Ciais, Yong-Guan Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The organic matter was absent prior to planetesimal formation (4.6 Gyr) but at present abundant in planetary environments. The aim of this study was to combine information about the organic inventory of the Earth, which is accompanied by the evolution of life. A variety of available free energy sources, including geochemical energy, sunlight, oxygen and fire have supported life evolution. In the meantime these energy sources have mediated the diversity and complexity of living organisms and resulted in a concomitant increase in the diversity and complexity of organic matter, including microbial-, plant-, fire-, and human derived organics. The change of the diversity and complexity of organic matter (microbial-, plant-, fire- and human-derived organics) have in-return significantly influenced Earth’s carbon cycle, planetary climate and ecosystems. Overall, energy harnessing and conservation of life entwined and expanded the evolutional histories of life and organic molecules on the planet. Considering the key role of organics on the stability of the oxygen level of the atmosphere, temperature, the tectonic rise of continents, and global habitability, the changing characters of organics over geologic time had an important shaping influence on Earth’s geochemical cycles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-625
Number of pages23
JournalCritical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology
Volume51
Issue number6
Early online date4 Mar 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • AMINO-ACIDS
  • ATMOSPHERIC OXYGEN
  • BLACK CARBON
  • CARBON-CYCLE
  • EARLY EVOLUTION
  • Energy harnessing
  • LAND PLANTS
  • MASS EXTINCTION
  • PLASTIC DEBRIS
  • PREBIOTIC CHEMISTRY
  • PYROGENIC CARBON
  • life
  • organic matter

Cite this