Is Earth really a sort of giant living organism as the Gaia hypothesis predicts? A new discovery may provide a key to answering this question. This key of sulfur could allow scientists to unlock heretofore hidden interactions between ocean organisms, atmosphere, and land — interactions that might provide evidence supporting this famous theory.

The Gaia theory — first articulated by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the 1970s — holds that Earth’s physical and biological processes are inextricably connected to form a self-regulating, essentially sentient, system.

Newly published work done at the University of Maryland provides a tool for tracing and measuring the movement of sulfur through ocean organisms, the atmosphere and the land in ways that may help prove or disprove the controversial Gaia theory.

(via UMD)