Biogeochemical Cycles

Abstract

Many of the chemical elements are constantly taken up, excreted and/or transformed by living organisms. This is true for those elements that constitute a significant part of the biomass on Earth (carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus) as well as for many other elements present in small amounts in living cells, such as iron and many other metals. The biogeochemical cycles qualitatively and quantitatively describe the cycling of the elements between the abiotic terrestrial, marine and atmospheric environment and the biota.

Keywords: biogeochemistry; element cycles; primary production; degradation; dissimilatory processes

Figure 1.

A simple box model of part of the global carbon cycle, showing reservoirs of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere, the oceans and the atmosphere (in petagram (Pg, 1015 g) marked in red and fluxes (in Pg carbon per year) in green). Data were derived in part from data presented by Holmén and compare Figure .

Figure 2.

The most important reservoirs and fluxes in the global carbon cycle. Reservoirs (in Pg) are marked in red and fluxes (in Pg carbon per year) in green. Derived in part from data presented by Holmén .

Figure 3.

The main reservoirs and fluxes in the global nitrogen cycle. Reservoirs (in Pg) are marked in red and fluxes (in Pg nitrogen per year) in green. Derived in part from data presented by Jaffe .

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References

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Further Reading

Butcher SS, Charlson RJ and Orians GH et al. (eds) (1992) Global Biogeochemical Cycles. London: Academic Press.

Capone DG and Carpenter EJ (1982) Nitrogen fixation in the marine environment. Science 217: 1140–1142.

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How to Cite close
Oren, Aharon(Jul 2008) Biogeochemical Cycles. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000343.pub2]