Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Adaptive Habitability of Exoplanets: Thriving Under Extreme Environmental Change

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
July 7, 2024
Filed under , , , , ,
Adaptive Habitability of Exoplanets: Thriving Under Extreme Environmental Change
Population density and trait lag over time for no adaptation edge case v = 0. Lower panel has σ = 25 > C while upper panel has σ = 5 < C. -- astro-ph.EP

The dynamic nature of life’s ability to thrive in diverse and changing planetary environments suggests that habitability and survival depend on the evolutionary path and life adaptation to environmental conditions. Here we explore such “adaptive habitability” through astro-ecological models.

We study the interplay between temperature adaptation and environmental fluctuations, particularly those induced by solar activity and orbital dynamics. We present a simplified ecological-evolutionary model to investigate the limits of life’s adaptability on a planetary scale.

By incorporating complexities such as multiple niches, migration, species interactions, and realistic temperature variations, we demonstrate the potential for adaptive habitability in the face of both gradual and abrupt environmental changes.

Through simulations encompassing monotonic, periodic, and secular dynamical evolution-induced temperature profiles, we identify critical thresholds for survival and extinction, highlighting the importance of phenotypic variance and dispersal rates in adapting to varying environmental conditions.

These findings underscore the significance of considering temporal variations in assessing exoplanet habitability and expanding the search space for potentially habitable worlds.

Itay Weintraub, Hagai B. Perets

Comments: Submitted to ApJ. 10 figures,16 pages
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2407.02571 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2407.02571v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Itay Weintraub
[v1] Tue, 2 Jul 2024 18:00:13 UTC (2,491 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻