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origin of the Universe


cosmic web




Milky Way Galaxy


primordial overdensities

Big Bang


Early cosmic inflation

protons and neutrons

photons and neutrinos

Stars and Galaxies

Solar System






Ice Giants

Trans-Neptunian Objects

Asteroid Belt

Moons and Rings

Earth and Geobiosphere

Global Catastrophes

Ocean Science Quest

Darwin In the Garden

Origin of Life

Diversity of Life

Complexity of Life







Organism Life Cycle

Ecosystem Evolution

Ecosystem Life Cycle

Brains and Tools


Brain Structure

Brain Cell Building Blocks

Brain chemistry and neuroplasticity

Brain Development

Brain Evolution

Brain Emergent Properties


Brain Life Cycle


Tools to expand sensory powers

Tools to expand physical powers

Tools to expand mental powers

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Selection

Socio-economic Evolution





The Big Bang was not an explosion of matter and energy. It was an expansion of the space containing matter and energy. We would not be here were it not for the rapid expansion that thinned and cooled the insanely dense, hot, formless universe. Thanks to dark matter, structure formed first, making it possible for massive stars to form and live and die young, enriching interstellar space for future generations of stars that synthesized the building blocks of galaxies, stars, planets, life over billions of years.


Relationships in the garden have roots in cosmogenesis, cooperation, competition, and coevolution of plants with the geophysical environment and other kingdoms of life. Autotrophs evolved before heterotrophs because the molecular and metabolic building blocks of photosynthesis took time to evolve. For high energy organisms, respiration provided evolutionary advantages over fermentation. Oxidation and oxygenation altered the evolutionary history of the planet. Microbes evolved before complex multicellular life. Bacteria evolved before algae and plants. Seed plants evolved before flowering plants coevolved with animals.



Darwin in the Garden Poster Display for Feb 12 2009 Darwin bicentennial

Darwin in the Garden © Bob Field 2009-0204


Posters and Talk based on walk: Exploring Evolution in the Leaning Pine Arboretum


Theme: Darwin traveled the world before he understood the origin of species, but all we have to do is visit Mediterranean gardens to illustrate how the Earth and its biosphere have been evolving for billions of years.

It’s all about relationships with other plants, animals, algae, bacteria, and fungi, and the Earth and its geobiosphere.


Our walk and poster display are based on four big ideas:


First, like remote volcanic islands, the geographical isolation of Mediterrranean climates on five continents provides multiple opportunities for plants to evolve specialized adaptations to survive extended dry seasons, years of drought, and occasionally devastating wildfires. click to expand or collapse

geographic isolation fosters evolutionary diversity
















Second, the co-evolution of plants and animals influences their anatomy and physiology, particularly as plants reward and repel animals. click to expand or collapse

co-evolution of plants and animals










Third, plant cells fix inorganic carbon from the atmosphere, but cannot fix other key nutrients from atmospheric nitrogen and phosphate minerals. This is explained by their evolutionary history of symbiotic relationships with fungus and bacteria. click to expand or collapse

relationships with algae, fungus and bacteria














Fourth, the co-evolution of the Earth and its biosphere can explain the persistence of liquid oceans, the composition of the atmosphere, and the diversity, abundance, and distribution of the six kingdoms of life. click to expand or collapse

co-evolution of the Earth and its biosphere











Voyage of the Beagle - click to expand or collapse

Beagle images











Darwin really had a Garden - click to expand or collapse

images of Darwin's Garden at Down House south of London











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