How the Geomagnetic Field Influences Life on Earth – An Integrated Approach to Geomagnetobiology

Erdmann, W., Kmita, H., Kosicki, J.Z. et al. How the Geomagnetic Field Influences Life on Earth – An Integrated Approach to Geomagnetobiology. Orig Life Evol Biosph (2021).


Earth is one of the inner planets of the Solar System, but – unlike the others – it has an oxidising atmosphere, relatively stable temperature, and a constant geomagnetic field (GMF). The GMF does not only protect life on Earth against the solar wind and cosmic rays, but it also shields the atmosphere itself, thus creating relatively stable environmental conditions. What is more, the GMF could have influenced the origins of life: organisms from archaea to plants and animals may have been using the GMF as a source of spatial information since the very beginning. Although the GMF is constant, it does undergo various changes, some of which, e.g. a reversal of the poles, weaken the field significantly or even lead to its short-term disappearance. This may result in considerable climatic changes and an increased frequency of mutations caused by the solar wind and cosmic radiation. This review analyses data on the influence of the GMF on different aspects of life and it also presents current knowledge in the area. In conclusion, the GMF has a positive impact on living organisms, whereas a diminishing or disappearing GMF negatively affects living organisms. The influence of the GMF may also be an important factor determining both survival of terrestrial organisms outside Earth and the emergence of life on other planets.

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