AHS Region 2/Great Lakes Newsletter
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(continued from page 29)
Furthermore, the Gaia hypothesis proposes the entire earth
manifested throughout our universe and, surprisingly, have
functions like an organism. As these ecosystems interface
an elegant and remarkable consistent design. Recent
with the environment, complex chemical reactions occur.
studies indicate that this consistency is no coincidence, and
Had bacteria not broken down the raw elements of the
that these patterns represent a deep pervasive order.
earth to produce our oxygen rich atmosphere, life as we
The Belosov Zhabblinski phenomena explains how non 
know it could not have emerged. Plants respirate the
equilibrium chemical reactions switch from concentric to
oxygen we breathe and in turn, inhale our carbon dioxide
spiral designs. Slides of the stripes of a zebra and patterns
waste.
of seashells reinforced this phenomenon.
Our entire web of life is interdependent upon a  divine
Curt went on to say that even in the seeming disorder and
orchestra . Ocean currents are stirred by solar radiation,
turbulence of chaos, patterns emerge. By measuring the
which in turn creates weather patterns. The climate is
irregularity one can find order called fractals, or in the case
ultimately dependent on our complex plant communities.
of nature, biofractals. These chaotic systems are determin 
Ocean temperatures, clouds, snow cover and polar ice caps
istic while remaining unpredictable. Slides of these nonlin 
both reflect and insulate. Thus far, earth seems unique in
ear dynamic systems included a chorus of frogs, a flock of
our galaxy. Science and technology have enabled us to look
birds in flight, leaves on the forest floor, and satellite views
deep into space and realize both our solitude and our
of the weather. These are just a few of the systems that
frailty.
behave in a regular, often cyclical manner until some
variable triggers an avalanche of confusion causing the
Yes, there is a pattern to this chaos as we see manifested in
system to degenerate and eventually stabilize again.
all of nature. Mankind and his complex society follow
Patterns are also found in extinction rates and speciation.
these same rules. As stated earlier, small events can trigger
Catastrophe in the physical world is reflected in the
cascades of change causing the current rules of life to no
evolutionary change of Biota (i.e. asteroids, continental
longer apply. Extinctions take place, and eventually new
drift, and ice ages). The more severe the cataclysmic event,
species emerge to fill the void.
the deeper the extinction rates become. An asteroid elimi 
Complexity is the theory that all systems build towards
nated 96% of all the planets species 250 million years ago,
emergent diversity or complexity, until a threshold is
while a tornado or road cut in a forest has little effect on
reached. This  edge of chaos  is where order and disorder
the overall genetic content and the system quickly returns
demand a transition phase.....natures Catch 22, if you will.
to normal. As life again evolves to recolonize the earth, the
Our planet is a survivor, and mankind and its fellow species
loss of genetic info means that new species are less likely
have had a long and glorious run. Ecological succession
to resemble their predecessors. Evolution cannot be
guarantees life will continue in one form or anther.
explained by simple extrapolation upwards of competitive
In the words of J. Lovelock,  Somehow, after all, as the
models of genetic information from one generation to the
universe ebbs towards its final equilibrium in the feature 
next. Perhaps Brian Goodwin said it best stating,  We are
less heat bath of maximum entropy, it manages to create
not looking for the meaning of life, but the meaning in life,
interesting structures.  Think about it. 
v
the generation of order and pattern. 
Symbiosis is the system in which members of different
species live in physical contact to one another. This contact
is usually benign or beneficial. Nature abounds with these
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symbiotic relationships and depends on these intricate,
mutually beneficial systems. New theories hint that with 
   Try to think ahead while you are taking slides or
out symbiosis, complex cellular life might never have
photos.  If possible, turn your camera and take
evolved. Complex multicellular organisms are themselves
some  
tall
  slides/photos  that could be used for
hierarchical arrays of different cells gathered together to
the 8.5 x 11 inch front cover.
form coherent tissues and organ systems, which in turn
   
Try to take your pictures early in the morning or
work together as a larger integrated whole or organism.
later in the afternoon, avoiding too much shade
These specialized plants and animals create a chain of
and sun that is too bright.
interactions which form an ecosystem. Curt cited examples
   Try to have daylilies in the front of your scene so
of this stating that the human armpit is alive with over 24
we can see their blossoms.
million bacteria and that we could not digest our food
   
At this time, do not submit images taken with a
without the complex flora in our intestines.
digital camera or single images from a camcorder.
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 Spring/Summer 2003

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