Life in the transients

Termites Blood flow Life in the transients Miscellany Collaborators

Life in the transients is the moniker for a new research program,concerned with unifying physiological with evolutionary adaptation.

With the advent of Neodarwinism, evolutionary and physiological adaptation have come to be regarded as separate. Physiological adaptation is what organisms do to fit in with their environments. Evolutionary adaptation is the natural selection of genes for apt function. I think this is a wrong way to think about adaptation, and that physiological and evolutionary adaptation are in fact, a single phenomenon. Our whole thinking about evolution turns on this distinction.

Life in the transients is based upon three premises:

  • Life itself is a transient phenomenon in a transient world
  • Adaptation involves manipulating the environment to sustain the order-producing work of homeostasis. Life, in other words, creates its own fitness space.
  • Manipulation of the environment constitutes a form of heritable memory on equal standing with the heritable memory encoded in DNA.

Life in the transients is being developed both theoretically and experimentally, focusing on adaptation in harsh environments. We are pursuing the experimental work in the Namib desert, at the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre in Namibia