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An Introduction to the Earth-Life System

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Charles Cockell, Richard Corfield, Neil Edwards, Nigel Harris
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  • Date Published: March 2008
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521729536

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About the Authors
  • This concise undergraduate textbook brings together Earth and biological sciences to explore the co-evolution of the Earth and life over geological time. Written for a one-semester course, it explores the Earth system at and above the surface of the Earth by examining the interactions and feedback processes between the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. It also explains how the Earth's surface environment involves a complex interplay between these systems. Through a wealth of features and student questioning, the book allows students to understand how physical controls make our planet hospitable for life, investigate the processes of global change that operate on a range of timescales, understand important cross-disciplinary connections and explore how the whole Earth system has evolved. Finally, it assesses how and why the climate of the Earth has varied over geological time, and considers whether life itself is passive or an active agent for change.

    • Presents an Earth System Science approach to support courses that emphasize the interactions between the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere
    • Includes review questions and answers, over 50 quantitative student exercises, set-aside focus boxes, chapter summaries and learning outcomes, glossary, and a supporting website with figures, further exercises, and solutions
    • Designed for a one-semester course at intermediate undergraduate level
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘This innovative Earth science textbook provides a thoroughly new way to look at the history of Earth and life. The pedagogic aspects are particularly well thought through and current research case studies, engaging questions, and practical examples will be beneficial to both students and instructors.’ Mike Benton, Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology, University of Bristol

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521729536
    • length: 326 pages
    • copublisher: The Open University
    • dimensions: 263 x 211 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.86kg
    • contains: 220 colour illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. A habitable planet
    2. The emergence and persistence of life
    3. The carbon cycle
    4. Plate tectonics, climate and life
    5. Mountains and climate change
    6. Life in the Phanerozoic
    7. The Earth at extremes
    8. Summary
    Answers to questions
    Further reading

  • Resources for

    An Introduction to the Earth-Life System

    Charles Cockell, Richard Corfield, Nancy Dise, Neil Edwards, Nigel Harris

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    These resources are provided free of charge by Cambridge University Press with permission of the author of the corresponding work, but are subject to copyright. You are permitted to view, print and download these resources for your own personal use only, provided any copyright lines on the resources are not removed or altered in any way. Any other use, including but not limited to distribution of the resources in modified form, or via electronic or other media, is strictly prohibited unless you have permission from the author of the corresponding work and provided you give appropriate acknowledgement of the source.

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  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Biogeochemical Earth
    • Earth our habitable planet
    • Evolution of Earth
    • Evolution of Earth & Its Life
    • Evolution: Patterns and Processes of Change in Nature
    • Geology and Public Issues
    • Historical Geology
    • Integrated Environmental Science I
    • Introduction to Environmental Science
    • Physics of the Biosphere
    • The Living Planet: Impact of the Biosphere on the Earth System
  • Authors

    Charles Cockell, The Open University, Milton Keynes
    Charles Cockell is Professor of Microbiology at The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK. His academic interests lie in geomicrobiology, astrobiology and space exploration and he has undertaken expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic, among other places, to study life in extreme environments. Professor Cockell has written and edited six other books including Impossible Extinction (Cambridge University Press, 2003).

    Richard Corfield, The Open University, Milton Keynes

    Nancy Dise, The Open University, Milton Keynes

    Neil Edwards, The Open University, Milton Keynes

    Nigel Harris, The Open University, Milton Keynes


    Charles Cockell, Richard Corfield, Neil Edwards, Nigel Harris

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