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Biogeochemical Cycles

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Stephanie Lyons

on 10 May 2016

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Transcript of Biogeochemical Cycles

What is a biogeochemical cycle?
A biogeochemical cycle is when a chemical substance moves through both biotic (biosphere) and abiotic (lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere) compartments of Earth.
Water Cycle
The sun is the driving force of the water cycle.
Whenever water changes from one state to another and moves from one place to another, it either gives off energy or absorbs energy.
Transpiration is the process by which water evaporates from plant leaves into the atmosphere.
When water evaporates into the atmosphere, it cools and condenses to form clouds through a process called condensation.
Aquifers are underground water reservoirs made of rocks and minerals that store freshwater.
Groundwater or water stored in the Earth's surface can remain there for thousands of years before moving.
Really old groundwater is called fossil water.
About 70% of the Earth's surface is covered with water.
When the clouds get too heavy from collecting water, they release it through a process called precipitation. Precipitation can occur in the form of falling rain, sleet, snow, or hail.
After water falls during precipitation, it either becomes a part of a body of water like an ocean or lake or it seeps into the ground.
Only about 3% of the water on Earth is freshwater or water that we can drink.
Carbon Cycle
Some objects can store carbon for many years and are known as carbon sinks.
Carbon in the air is attached to oxygen and is known as a molecule called carbon dioxide.
Plants use carbon dioxide in the air to make their own food through a process called photosynthesis.
When plants die and decompose, they could eventually become a fossil fuel and be burned to return as carbon dioxide in the air.
Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is helpful because it helps keep our planet at a livable temperature.
The ocean takes up quite a bit of carbon dioxide to provide nutrients for its plants.
Carbon is the second most abundant substance in living organisms behind water.
Humans can obtain carbon in the carbon cycle by eating plants or eating animals that eat plants.
Roughly 99% of carbon is stored deep within the Earth’s surface.
Carbon is very versatile in that it can combine with up to four other elements at the same time and can exist as a solid, liquid, or a gas.
Carbon is number 4 on the most abundant elements in the universe list.
The origin of the word carbon comes from the word carbo which is Latin for coal.
The Phosphorus Cycle
The element phosphorous was discovered in 1669 by Hennig Brand in Germany.
When phosphorus was discovered by Brand, he became the first person to be credited with the discovery of an element.
Once phosphorus gets lost during runoff, it remains lost from the cycle forever.
Phosphorus is essential for plant growth.
Phosphorus can most likely be found underground in soil and rocks.
The majority of mined phosphorus is used to make artificial fertilizers.
When too much phosphorus containing fertilizer is washed into the ocean, it causes an increase in algae growth called an algae bloom.
After rocks break down underground, phosphorus is usually released and absorbed by plants.
Once an animal or plant dies and decays, phosphorus is returned to the ground.
The phosphorus cycle occurs much slower than other biochemical cycles because the processes that move the phosphorus occur at a slow rate.
Once phosphorus enters a plant or animal, it moves through the organism very quickly.
Phosphorus is responsible for holding DNA together.
Animals receive phosphorus directly by eating plants or indirectly by eating plant eating animals.
If released phosphorus from marine animals becomes part of the underwater sediment, it may remain there forever.
Nitrous Cycle
Plants absorb nitrogen directly from the soil.
Animals get their nitrogen needs met by eating plants or eating animals that eat plants.
There are many steps in the nitrogen cycle including fixation, nitrification, assimilation, ammonification, and denitrification.
Fixation is a process in the nitrogen cycle where bacteria turn nitrogen into ammonium.
After fixation, bacteria uses nitrification to turn ammonium into nitrates which is usable by plants.
Once nitrogen has been fixed, plants can absorb nitrogen through their roots from the soil in a process known as assimilation.
After a plant dies, it decomposes where bacteria turn the nitrogen back into ammonium through a process called ammonification.
During denitrification, special bacteria return extra nitrogen from the soil into the air.
Plants need nitrogen to make chlorophyll which they use during photosynthesis.
Nitrogen is important to animals in many ways including being a part of its DNA and proteins.
Roughly 78% of the atmosphere is made of a non-usable form of nitrogen gas.
Humans alter the nitrogen cycle by using synthetic fertilizers on lawns which adds to much extra nitrogen to the soil.
Too much nitrous oxide in the atmosphere can cause acid rain.
Biogeochemical Cycles
Stephanie Lyons
the cycle of processes by which water circulates between the earth's oceans, atmosphere, and land, involving precipitation as rain and snow, drainage in streams and rivers, and return to the atmosphere by evaporation and transpiration.
the series of processes by which carbon compounds are interconverted in the environment, chiefly involving the incorporation of carbon dioxide into living tissue by photosynthesis and its return to the atmosphere through respiration, the decay of dead organisms, and the burning of fossil fuels.
The phosphorus cycle is the biogeochemical cycle that describes the movement of phosphorus through the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere.
the series of processes by which nitrogen and its compounds are interconverted in the environment and in living organisms, including nitrogen fixation and decomposition.
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