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Paper: Extrasolar Planetary Complex Biosphere Organization as Exemplified
Volume: 213, Bioastronomy '99: A New Era in Bioastronomy
Page: 183
Authors: Heath, Martin; Williams, Darren; Doyle, Laurence
Abstract: Planetary habitability has usually been defined with reference to the physiological tolerances of human beings, or, in a more general sense, in terms of a modelled planet's ability to retain liquid water (essential for life as we know it) on its surface for a few Gyr. Another way of investigating habitability is with regard to the global mode of biosphere organization. Every combination of stellar composition and main sequence luminosity evolution, planetary characteristics and history, and biosphere organisation is unique, and will have its own specific inner and outer Habitable Zone radii. We illustrate this with modelled equilibrium partial pressures of CO_2. Although, as pointed out by previous workers, plants' CO_2 compensation points (where respiration exactly balances photosynthetic production) are just a few p.p.m. for some species, plants in the real world need to grow, repair tissue loss, reproduce and colonise new areas as they become available. This means that Earth-type forest ecosystems will require CO_2 levels comparable to those of the present day Earth. Reductions in equilibrium CO_2 with progressievely higher insolation, will define different inner margins for the Forest H.Z. with different axial obliquities and continential configurations.
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