We are a collaboration to promote research and education focussed on Earth systems and planetary habitability.
We are engaged in a systematic re-evaluation of the opportunities for planets and moons to support planetary-scale ecosystems with complex life.
Investigation of the ability of Earth-like and other planets to support ecosystems with complex life and high biomass (as in forests) establishes a bridge between studies of the most basic conditions for life, as emphasised by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, and the search for communicative civilisations being conducted by the SETI Institute.
Our Earth Campaign seeks to raise awareness of the central role research must play in the urgent effort to safeguard Earth’s natural life support systems and secure the welfare of human communities. We stress the vital role of forests in climate amelioration and banks of biodiversity.
Public outreach has been pursued through co-operation with academic bodies, courses, field work, public presentations and tv documentaries.
We are a transAtlantic collaboration whose principal collaborators are Dr. Laurance Doyle (U.S.A.) and Dr. Martin Heath (U.K.).
Our core research interest is what it takes to make a world habitable.
We are looking in particular at conditions that would enable a planet to sustain a forest biomass comparable to that of the Earth.
This provides a conceptual thermometer for assessing planetary habitability:
1) It throws a spotlight on the problem of defining what we mean by a truly "Earth-like" planet.
2) Organisms native to other planets may be radically different from those on Earth. This technique provides pointers to the adaptations that would be required by organisms if they
were to thrive in environments unlike those those on our home planet.
The Earth's great tropical forests appear as swathes of dark green in this distant view of our world taken by the NASA/NOAA DSCOVR satellite on Jan. 2, 2016.