The parable of daisyworld: a comprehensive

Platts, P. J. “The Parable of Daisyworld: A Comprehensive Anal.” (2003).


The Daisyworld model was conceived by Watson and Lovelock (1983), to provide insight into temperature regulation on Earth. The close coupling between non-intelligent lifeforms (two varieties of daisy) and their environment is shown to regulate the planet’s temperature, across a wide range of solar luminosities. Attempting to model the Earth in all its grandeur would be an undertaking of unthinkable complexity. The simplifications required to keep Daisyworld accessible prompt us to study the model with caution. I take care to discuss the validity of each assumption that the authors make, before analysing the dynamical systems at work. I investigate how increasing the diversity of life affects the global temperature. This is, after all, the most striking difference between Daisyworld and planet Earth. I find that, the more species present, the more efficient the coupled system of biospere and geosphere becomes in its capacity to regulate Daisyworld’s temperature. However, once Darwinian evolution is allowed, diversity actually hinders the flowers’ ability to survive large perturbations in their environment.

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