So if we state the second law a little more strongly, "nature endeavours to find pathways which hasten the progression to equilibrium", then the emergence of self-organizing (dissipative) systems necessarily follows.
It is this realization which gives rise to our corollary to second law of thermodynamics (Kay and Schneider):
The more exergy there is, the greater the propensity, that is the more likely it is, that a self-organizing dissipative system will emerge to take advantage of the exergy. For biology, the more exergy accessible, the more likely some organism will make use of the opportunity.
This reinterpretation of the second law reconciles the second law with the biology. Life is to be expected! If the appropriate mix of exergy, materials, and information exist in an appropriate physical environment, life will emerge.
The implications of the reinterpreted second law are explored in the following papers:
The Infography has cited this as "one of the most excellent sources of information" about the subject of "Thermodynamics -- Ecological".
Schneider, E.D, Kay, J.J., 1994, "Life as a Manifestation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics", Mathematical and Computer Modelling, Vol 19, No. 6-8, pp.25-48. Also available in pdf format
Schneider, E.D, Kay, J.J., 1994 "Complexity and Thermodynamics: Towards a New Ecology", Futures 24 (6) pp.626-647, August 1994
Schneider, E.D, Kay, J.J., 1995, "Order from Disorder: The Thermodynamics of Complexity in Biology", in Michael P. Murphy, Luke A.J. O'Neill (ed), "What is Life: The Next Fifty Years. Reflections on the Future of Biology", Cambridge University Press, pp. 161-172
Kay. J. 2000. "Ecosystems as Self-organizing Holarchic Open Systems : Narratives and the Second Law of Thermodynamics" in Sven Erik Jorgensen, Felix Muller (eds), Handbook of Ecosystems Theories and Management, CRC Press - Lewis Publishers. pp 135-160
Fraser, R., Kay, J.J., 2002. "Exergy Analysis of Eco-Systems: Establishing a Role for the Thermal Remote Sensing" in D. Quattrochi and J. Luvall (eds) Thermal Remote sensing in Land Surface Processes, Taylor & Francis Publishers (UPDATED 1 August 2001)
Kay, J.J., 1991. "A Non-equilibrium Thermodynamic Framework for Discussing Ecosystem Integrity", Environmental Management, Vol 15, No.4, pp.483-495
Kay, J.J., Schneider, E.D., 1992. "Thermodynamics and Measures of Ecosystem Integrity" in Ecological Indicators, Volume 1, D.H. McKenzie, D.E. Hyatt, V.J. Mc Donald (eds.), Proceedings of the International Symposium on Ecological Indicators, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Elsevier, pp.159-182.
Kay. J., Regier, H., 1999. "An Ecosystem Approach to Erie's Ecology" in M. Munawar, T.Edsall, I.F. Munawar, (eds), International Symposium. The State of Lake Erie (SOLE) - Past, Present and Future. A tribute to Drs. Joe Leach & Henry Regier, Backhuys Academic Publishers, Netherlands, pp.511-533
Kay, J, Allen, T., Fraser, R., Luvall, J., Ulanowicz, R., 2001. "Can we use energy based indicators to characterize and measure the status of ecosystems, human, disturbed and natural?" in in Ulgiati, S., Brown, M.T., Giampietro, M., Herendeen, R., Mayumi, K., (eds) Proceedings of the international workshop: Advances in Energy Studies: exploring supplies, constraints and strategies, Porto Venere, Italy, 23-27 May, 2000 pp 121-133.
Kay, J., 2002, "On Complexity Theory, Exergy and Industrial Ecology: Some Implications for Construction Ecology" in Kibert, C., Sendzimir, J. (eds), Guy, B., Construction Ecology: Nature as a Basis for Green Buildings, Spon Press, pp.72-107.
"About the thermodynamics of ecosystems and surface temperature." presented at the course on Ecosystem theory-application in environmental management of aquatic systems, at The Royal Danish School of Pharmacy, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2 June, 2000.
A short talk on thermodynamics of ecosystems March 2000
The Infography: "Thermodynamics -- Ecological".
In addition to the authors mentioned on the above site:
Special Issues on Societal Metabolism: Blending New Insights from Complex System Thinking with Old Insights from Biophysical Analyses of the Economic Process.
Population and Environment, Volume 22 (2), November, 2000.
Volume 22 (3), January 2001.
Allen, T. F. H.; Tainter, J. A., and Hoekstra, T. W. Supply-Side Sustainability. Systems Research and Behavioral Science. 1999; 16:403-427.
Allen, T. F. H.; Tainter, J. A.; Pires, C., and Hoekstra, T. W. Dragnet Ecology"Just the Facts, Ma'am": The Privilege of Science in a Postmodern World. BioScience. 2001; 51(6):475-485.
Bas Kooijman and his work on Dynamic Energy Budget
Corning, Peter and Kline, Stephen. Thermodynamics, Information and Life Revisited, Part 1: "To Be or Entropy". Systems Research and Behavioural Science. 1998; 15:273-295.
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Last updated 20 March 2002.