Biologist. First formulated endosymbiotic theory, stating that eukaryotic organisms began as prokaryotes that were engulfed by other prokaryotes and continued to live in a symbiotic relationship. Now working on the Gaia hypothesis (her spelling), which considers the entire earth as an organism.

She received her Ph.D. from the University of Calfornia, Berkeley in 1963 and is currently a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


American Professor, Lecturer, and Science Writer

Distinguished University Professor, Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dr. Margulis has made numerous contributions in the field of microbiological evolution and cell biology. She was married to Dr. Carl Sagan in 1957, but the two split within ten years.

Dr. Margulis has, in her long academic career, produced a great deal of writing. Her work runs the spectrum from highly technical articles of professional interest to a number of less esoteric works. Several of her books, particularly those written with her son, writer Dorion Sagan, are designed to be approachable to a broader audience.

As a writer, Dr. Margulis has a lucid, no-nonsense style. Not nearly as lyrical as, say, Lewis Thomas, nor nearly so cranky and cynical as Stephen Jay Gould. Her style is something like John Gribbin. Most of her work is about biodiversity and the interdependence of organisms. She has worked extensively on the Gaia Hypothesis championed by Dr. James Lovelock.

Among her most interesting books are Five Kingdoms (written with Karlene Schwartz, this wonderful book is somewhat dated now, but still stands as a marvellous work in the field of taxonomy), What is Life? (with Sagan and Niles Eldridge, one I intend to get and read soon) and Microcosmos (with Sagan, a brilliant read!).

Her publications are numerous, but a few of them are referenced below.

Selected bibliography:
Symbiosis in Cell Evolution: Life and its Environment on the Early Earth, (Freeman, New York, 1981).

Five Kingdoms: An Illustrated Guide to the Phyla of Life on Earth, (with Schwartz, K.V.), (Freeman, San Francisco, 1982 - later editions in 1987, 1998).

Early Life (Jones & Bartlett, Sudbury, MA, 1982).

Origins of Sex: Three Billion Years of Genetic Recombination (with Sagan, D.), (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1986).

Symbiont Acquisition as Neoseme: Origin of Species and Higher Taxa (with Bermudes, D.), Symbiosis 4: 185—198, 1987.

What is Sex? (Simon & Schuster, New York, 1991).

Symbiosis as a Source of Evolutionary Innovation (editor, with Fester, R.), (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1991).

Symbiosis in Cell Evolution: Microbial Communities in the Archean and Proterozoic Eons (WH Freeman & Co, New York , 1992).

Mystery Dance: On the Evolution of Human Sexuality (with Sagan, D.), (Simon & Schuster, New York, 1992).

Illustrated Glossary of the Protoctista: Vocabulary of the Algae, Apicomplexa, Ciliates, Foraminifera, Microspora, Water Molds, Slime Molds … (with McKhann, H. & Olendzenski, L.), (Jones & Bartlett, Sudbury, MA, 1993).

What is Life? (with Sagan, D. and Eldridge, N.), (Simon & Schuster, New York , 1995)

Slanted Truths: Essays on Gaia, Symbiosis, and Evolution, (Copernicus, New York, 1997).

Microcosmos; Four Billion Years of Evolution From Our Microbial Ancestors (with Sagan, D.), (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1997).

Symbiotic planet: a New Look at Evolution, (Basic Books, New York, 1998).

Diversity of Life : the Illustrated Guide to the Five Kingdoms, (Jones & Bartlett, Boston, 1999).

Environmental Evolution - 2nd Edition: Effects of the Origin and Evolution of Life on Planet Earth (ed. With Matthews, C. & Haselton, A.), (MIT Press, Cambridge, 2000).

Acquiring Genomes: The Theory of the Origins of the Species (with Sagan, D.), (Basic Books, Philadelphia, 2003).

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