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Biogeochemical Cycles

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Nicole Martin

on 12 September 2017

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Transcript of Biogeochemical Cycles


Unit 2
Essential Question
How do nutrients flow through each of the 6 BGC cycles?

What impacts do humans have on the biogeochemical cycles.

Why is the hydrologic cycle important to the environment?
What Sustains Life on Earth?
Solar energy
Cycling of matter
Biogeochemical (BGC) Cycle
The comprehensive set of cyclical pathways by which a given nutrient moves through the environment.

Nutrients Cycle through the Environment
Spheres: Atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere

Pools (reservoirs) = where nutrients reside for varying amounts of time
Flux = the rate at which materials move between pools

Can change over time
Is influenced by human activities
Called Residence Time
Main Components of BGC Cycles
adapted from Pearson Education
a pool that releases more nutrients than it accepts

a pool that accepts more nutrients than it releases

Hydrologic Cycle
What are some ways human activities can impact the water cycle?
Carbon Cycle
Describes the route of carbon atoms through the environment

Where can CARBON be found?
Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, bones, cartilage and shells
Photosynthesis by plants, algae and cyanobacteria

Removes carbon dioxide from air and water
Produces oxygen and carbohydrates
Plants are a major reservoir of carbon

Respiration returns carbon to the air and oceans

Plants, consumers and decomposers

STORAGE of Carbon
Decomposition returns carbon to the sediment

The largest reservoir of carbon
May be trapped for hundreds of millions of years

Aquatic organisms die and settle in the sediment

Older layers are buried deeply and undergo high pressure
Ultimately, it may be converted into fossil fuels

Oceans are the second largest reservoir of carbon
Nitrogen Cycle
Describes the routes that nitrogen atoms take through the environment
Nitrogen comprises 78% of our atmosphere
It is contained in proteins, DNA and RNA

Nitrogen fixation
Lightning or nitrogen-fixing bacteria combine (fix) nitrogen with hydrogen
To form ammonium
Which can be used by plants

Bacteria convert ammonium ions first into nitrite ions then into nitrate ions.

Plants can take up these ions

Animals obtain nitrogen by eating plants or other animals

Decomposers get it from dead and decaying plants or other animals

Releasing ammonium ions to nitrifying bacteria

Denitrifying bacteria
Convert nitrates in soil or water to gaseous nitrogen

Release it back into the atmosphere

Human Impacts
Humans put nitrogen into the environment
Fully half of nitrogen entering the environment is of human origin

Phosphorus Cycle
Describes the routes that phosphorus atoms take through the environment

Key component of cell membranes, DNA, RNA, ATP and ADP
Reservoir & Function
Most phosphorus is within rocks

It is released by weathering

There is no significant atmospheric component

With naturally low environmental concentrations
Phosphorus is a limiting factor for plant growth
Human Impacts - 1
Mining rocks for fertilizer moves phosphorus from the soil to water systems

Human Impacts - 2
Wastewater discharge also releases phosphorus

Human Impacts - 3
Runoff containing phosphorus causes eutrophication of aquatic systems
Produces murkier waters
Alters the structure and function of aquatic systems
Do not buy detergents that contain phosphate

Human Impacts - 1
Removing forests and vegetation increases runoff and erosion, reduces transpiration and lowers water tables

Human Impacts - 2
Irrigating agricultural fields depletes rivers, lakes and streams and increases evaporation

Human Impacts - 3
Damming rivers increases evaporation and infiltration

Human Impacts - 4
Emitting pollutants changes the nature of precipitation

Human Impacts - 5
The most threatening impact: overdrawing groundwater for drinking, irrigation, and industrial use

Water shortages create worldwide conflicts
Sulfur Cycle
The way sulfur circulates through the environment.
Sulfur Sinks
Oceans as SO2
Sedimentary Rocks
Input from rivers
Released by weathering/erosion
Where in your body?
In your amino acids (proteins).
In many vitamins.
Atmospheric Sulfur
hot springs
Human Impacts 1
Human industry can put more sulfur into the air as sulfur dioxide SO2 and hydrogen sulfide H2S.
Human Impacts 2
When these sulfur compounds react with oxygen in the atmosphere they form sulfuric acid or ACID RAIN.
Lets' Review...
How do humans effect the
Hydrologic Cycle
Carbon Cycle
Nitrogen Cycle
Phosphorus Cycle
Sulfur Cycle
Human Impacts 1
Burning of fossil fuels - humans dig up coal and petroleum to burn, putting more carbon into the atmosphere!
Human Impacts 2
Increased atmospheric carbon, driving global climate change.
BGC Cycle Booklet - "PROJECT"
pg. 116
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