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Important Biogeochemical Cycles

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Mason Mayer

on 16 June 2011

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Transcript of Important Biogeochemical Cycles

Important Biogeochemical Cycles The Nitrogen Cycle Very important, if not the most important cycle 4 processes Fixation, Decay, Nitrification, Denitrification Fixation Nitrogen in atmosphere is inert Three different processes of fixation Fixation allows for modification of nitrogen Atmospheric, Industrial, and Biological Atmospheric Fixation Done by lightning and precepitation Accounts for only 5-8% of total nitrogen fixated Industrial Fixation Nitrogen is under great pressure/temperature Creates Ammonia Inorganic fixation process, and essential to the production of fertilizers Biological Fixation Most common fixation process Done by certain bacteria and archaea Requires specific enzymes as well as lots of ATP 1st product is ammonia, which is then incorperated into organic compounds, such as protiens Lightning breaks apart nitrogen in the atmosphere, which bonds with other molecules, and falls to earth in precipitation. Decay Plants make various protiens that contain nitrogen Protiens travel through food web After use, compounds that contain nitrogen are released back into the enviroment via waste or death In both cases, microbes break down the molecules into ammonia Nitrification Converts ammonia into nirtites for plants Nitrosomonas genus bacteria break down break down ammonia into the nitrites Nitrites can further be refined into nitrates Denitrification Denitrification returns nitrogen to the atmosphere, completing the cycle Bacteria changes nitrates into nitrogen gas, which returns to the atmosphere The bacteria that carry out this function live in anerobic enviroments, and uses nitrites/nitrates in the stead of oxygen The Oxygen Cycle Important to almost all forms of life Two main processes, Respiration and Photosynthesis Three smaller processes, photolysis, weathering and decay/burial Photosynthesis Opposite of respiration Carbon gas is changed to oxygen gas, which is released back into the atmosphere Respiration Organisimis take in oxygen for their bodies to use. Oxygen converted into carbon gas, which returns to the atmosphere Photolysis chemical compounds are broken down by photons occurs only in upper atmosphere usually breaks apart atmospheric oxygen so it can bond with other elements to form ozone molecules Weathering Oxygen is bonded with other elements in lithospheric rocks Lithospheric rocks are then broken down by winds and rain, and the oxygen is then easily available to all organisms Burial/Decay All bodies have some oxygen elements in them When they die, organisms decay, and the elements in their bodies return to surrounding enviroment Burial/Decay depends on where the body decompoes In the open air, bodies decay In the soil, it is considered burial, and the bodies elements return to the soil The Phosphorus Cycle Phosphorus intergral part of DNA/RNA framework also a critical component of ATP no gaseous form, so rarely in atmosphere (only as acid rain) Follows the usual route a cycle takes, where it starts in the rocks, its source From there plants absorb it, which in turn are eaten by animals or die, and the nutrients then retun to the soil via waste or decay This cycle also occurs in aquatic food chains, where after decay, it becomes a sediment and returns to the soil The Sulfur Cycle usually found in combination with metals as part of a rock/sediment sulfur gas gives swamps and sewers the rotting egg smell sulfur and its compounds are very important in the industry, and sulfuric acid is a widely used chemical in labs and schools sulfur is usually found in the mantle and as a sediment in the soil from there it goes to the atmosphere, via eruption or erosion from the atmosphere, it can go to the lithosphere via deposition, and then back to the atmosphere via gasififcation finally, sulfur gets into the ocean, via waste-water runoff or deposition, where it becomes a sediment, and returns to the lithosphere or gets subdected back into the mantle
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