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Nitrogen is necessary for all life on Earth. Nitrogen is an important component in plant and animal cells. Organisms need nitrogen to produce proteins, nucleic acids, and amino acids. While nitrogen gas (mostly N2) makes up 78% of the Earth’s atmosphere, it is not usable in that form by most plants and animals. Most living things can only use nitrogen when combined with carbon, hydrogen, or oxygen. The nitrogen cycle describes the way in which microorganisms transform atmospheric nitrogen and the nitrogen contained in organic matter into usable compounds. The steps of the nitrogen cycle are: nitrogen fixation, assimilation, ammonification, nitrification, dentrification, and anaerobic ammonium oxidation

nitrogen. Carbon compounds are present in living things like plants and animals and in nonliving things like rocks and soil.THE CARBON CYLE The carbon cycle is the circulation and transformation of carbon back and forth between living things and the environment. liquids (such as crude oil). calcium. Other examples of elements are oxygen. Carbon is often referred to as the "building block of life" because living things are based on carbon and carbon compounds . or gases (such as carbon dioxide). something that cannot be broken down into a simpler substance. Carbon compounds can exist as solids (such as diamonds or coal). and hydrogen. iron. Carbon is an element.

. Unlike many other biogeochemical cycles. local conditions. The production of phosphates gas occurs only in specialized. and biosphere.THE PHOSPHORUS CYLE The phosphorus cycle is the biogeochemical cycle that describes the movement of phosphorus through the lithosphere. because phosphorus and phosphorus-based compounds are usually solids at the typical ranges of temperature and pressure found on Earth. hydrosphere. the atmosphere does not play a significant role in the movement of phosphorus.

calcium performs other important functions in the soil that make it useful and necessary.2 to 3. often in the form of ground limestone. most of the calcium cations have been leached out of the soil root zone by water and the addition of some calcium. is necessary for good growth of most food plants. In humid. Although the amount of calcium needed by plants is small (calcium is 0.5 of the dry weight of plants and living plants are usually more than 60% water). high rainfall regions like New England.THE CALCIUM CYLE To understand how calcium gets into our bodies we have to look at calcium on and in the land. .

etc. When the clouds meet cool air over land.). Some of the precipitation soaks into the ground. Some of the underground water is trapped between rock or clay layers . or snow) is triggered. precipitation (rain. But most of the water flows downhill as runoff (above ground or underground).THE HYDROLOGIC CYLE The Hydrological Cycle (also known as the water cycle) is the journey water takes as it circulates from the land to the sky and back again. Plants also lose water to the air . The water vapor eventually condenses. forming tiny droplets in clouds. .this is called transpiration. eventually returning to the seas as slightly salty water. and water returns to the land (or sea). lakes. sleet.this is called groundwater. The sun's heat provides energy to evaporate water from the earth's surface (oceans.