You are on page 1of 34



Natural Biochemical Cycles The major natural biochemical cycles include the carbon,nitrogen, and phosphate cycles. They are presented in brief in this graphic. Plants such as trees and algae undergo the photosynthesis reaction where carbon dioxide and water in the presence of sunlight are converted to organic materials and oxygen. An important reverse reaction occurs in the water: Fish use metabooilism where oxygen and organic materials - other small fish or algae - as food is converted to carbon dioxide, water, and energy. Bacteria in water, as well as land, also undergometabolism and use oxygen and decompose organic wastes as food to convert to carbon dioxide, water, and energy. By products in the decomposition of organic waste are nitrates and phosphates. The overall health of a body of water depends upon whether these factors are in balance. Municipal sewage systems are now doing a better job of removing most of the organic waste products in the discharge water, but some organic waste still enters the streams and lakes. If an excess amount of organic waste is present in the water, the bacteria use all of the available oxygen in the water in an attempt to decompose the organic waste. The amount of organic waste in water is represent by a chemical test called BOD Biological Oxygen Demand.The concentration of oxygen is measured in a water sample at the beginning of the test and again after five days. The difference between the oxygen concentrations represents the amount of oxygen consumed by the bacteria in the metabolism of the waste organics present.

Eutrophication: In situations where eutrophication occurs, the natural cycles are overwhelmed by an excess of one or more of the following: nutrients such as nitrate or phosphate, or organic waste. In the first case under aerobic conditions (presence of oxygen), the natural cycles may be more or less in balance until an excess of nitrate and/or phosphate enters the water. At this time the water plants and algae begin to grow more rapidly than normal. As this happens there is also an excess die off of the plants and algae as sunlight is blocked at lower levels. Bacteria try to decompose the organic waste, consuming the oxygen, and releasing more phosphate and nitrate to begin the cycle anew. Some of the phosphate may be precipitated as iron phosphate to remove the soluble form from the water solution. In the second case under anaerobic conditions (absence of oxygen), as conditions worsen as more phosphates and nitrates may be added to the water, all of the oxygen may be used up by bacteria in trying to decompose all of the waste. Different bacteria continue to carry on decomposition reactions, however the products are drastically different. The carbon is converted to methane gas instead of carbon dioxide, sulfur is converted to hydrogen sulfide gas. Some of the sulfide may be precipitated as iron sulfide. Under anaerobic conditions the iron phosphate in the sediments may be

solubilized into solution to make it available as a nutrient for the algae which would start the growth and decay cycle over again. The pond may gradually fill with undecayed plant materials to make a swamp.


Carbon Cycle - Photosynthesis: Photosynthesis is a complex series of reactions carried out by algae, phytoplankton, and the leaves in plants, which utilize the energy from the sun. The simplified version of this chemical reaction is to utilize carbon dioxide molecules from the air and water molecules and the energy from the sun to produce a simple sugar such as glucose and oxygen molecules as a by product. The simple sugars are then converted into other molecules such as starch, fats, proteins, enzymes, and DNA/RNA i.e. all of the other molecules in living plants. All of the "matter/stuff" of a plant ultimately is produced as a result of this photosynthesis reaction. An important summary statement is that during photosynthesis plants use carbon dioxide andproduce oxygen.

Carbon Cycle - Combustion/Metabolism Reaction: Combustion occurs when any organic material is reacted (burned) in the presence of oxygen to give off the products of carbon dioxide and water and ENERGY. The organic material can be any fossil fuel such as natural gas (methane), oil, or coal. Other organic materials that combust are wood, paper, plastics, and cloth. Organic materials contain at least carbon and hydrogen and may include oxygen. If other elements are present they also ultimately combine with oxygen to form a variety of pollutant molecules such as sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides. Metabolism occurs in animals and humans after the ingestion of organic plant or animal foods. In the cells a series of complex reactions occurs with oxygen to convert for example glucose sugar into the products of carbon dioxide and water and ENERGY. This reaction is also carried out by bacteria in the decomposition/decay of waste materials on land and in the water. An important summary statement is that during combustion/metabolism oxygen is used and carbon dioxide is a product. The whole purpose of both processes is to convert chemical energy into other forms of energy such as heat.

Carbon Cycle - Sedimentation: Carbon dioxide is slightly soluble and is absorbed into bodies of water such as the ocean and lakes. It is not overly soluble as evidenced by what happens when a can of carbonated soda such as Coke is opened. Some of the dissolved carbon dioxide remains in the water, the warmer the water the less carbon dioxide remains in the water. Some carbon dioxide is used by algae and phytoplankton through the process of photosynthesis. In other marine ecosystems, some organisms such as coral and those with shells take up carbon dioxide from the water and convert it into calcium carbonate. As the shelled organisms die, bits and pieces of the shells fall to the bottom of the oceans and accumulate as sediments. The carbonate sediments are constantly being formed and redissolved in the depths of the oceans. Over long periods of time, the sediments may be raised up as dry land or into mountains. This type of sedimentary rock is called limestone. The carbonates can redissolve releasing carbon dioxide back to the air or water.

Human Impacts on the Carbon Cycle - Fossil Fuels: In the natural carbon cycle, there are two main processes which occur: photosynthesis and metabolism. During photosynthesis, plants use carbon dioxide andproduce oxygen. During metabolism oxygen is used and carbon dioxide is a product. Humans impact the carbon cycle during the combustion of any type of fossil fuel, which may include oil, coal, or natural gas. Fossil Fuels were formed very long ago from plant or animal remains that were buried, compressed, and transformed into oil, coal, or natural gas. The carbon is said to be "fixed" in place and is essentially locked out of the natural carbon cycle. Humans intervene during by burning the fossil fuels. During combustion in the presence of air (oxygen), carbon dioxide and water molecules are released into the atmosphere. The question becomes as to what happens to this extra carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere. This is the subject of considerable debate and about it possible effect in enhancing the greenhouse effect which may than result in global warming.

The Carbon Cycle
All living things are made of carbon. Carbon is also a part of the ocean, air, and even rocks. Because the Earth is a dynamic place, carbon does not stay still. It is on the move! In the atmosphere, carbon is attached to some oxygen in a gas called carbon dioxide. Plants use carbon dioxide and sunlight to make their own food and grow. The carbon becomes part of the plant. Plants that die and are buried may turn into fossil fuels made of carbon like coal and oil over millions of years. When humans burn fossil fuels, most of the carbon quickly enters the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and traps heat in the atmosphere. Without it and other greenhouse gases, Earth would be a frozen world. But humans have burned so much fuel that there is about 30% more carbon dioxide in the air today than there was about 150 years ago, and

Earth is becoming a warmer place. In fact, ice cores show us that there is now more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than there has been in the last 420,000 years.

NITROGEN CYCLE:::::::::::::::: The main component of the nitrogen cycle starts with the element nitrogen in the air. Two nitrogen oxides are found in the air as a result of interactions with oxygen. Nitrogen will only react with oxygen in the presence of high temperatures and pressures found near lightning bolts and in combustion reactions in power plants or

internal combustion engines. Nitric oxide, NO, and nitrogen dioxide, NO 2, are formed under these conditions. Eventually nitrogen dioxide may react with water in rain to form nitric acid, HNO3. The nitrates thus formed may be utilized by plants as a nutrient. Nitrogen in the air becomes a part of biological matter mostly through the actions of bacteria and algae in a process known as nitrogen fixation. Legume plants such as clover, alfalfa, and soybeans form nodules on the roots where nitrogen fixing bacteria take nitrogen from the air and convert it into ammonia, NH3. The ammonia is further converted by other bacteria first into nitrite ions, NO2-, and then into nitrate ions, NO3-. Plants utilize the nitrate ions as a nutrient or fertilizer for growth. Nitrogen is incorporate in many amino acids which are further reacted to make proteins. Ammonia is also made through a synthetic process called the Haber Process. Nitrogen and hydrogen are reacted under great pressure and temperature in the presence of a catalyst to make ammonia. Ammonia may be directly applied to farm fields as fertilizer. Ammonia may be further processed with oxygen to make nitric acid. The reaction of ammonia and nitric acid produces ammonium nitrate which may then be used as a fertilizer. Animal wastes when decomposed also return to the earth as nitrates. To complete the cycle other bacteria in the soil carry out a process known as denitrification which converts nitrates back to nitrogen gas. A side product of this reaction is the production of a gas known as nitrous oxide, N 2O. Nitrous oxide, also known as "laughing gas" - mild anesthetic, is also a greenhouse gas which contributes to global warming.

Take a deep breath. Most of what you just inhaled is nitrogen. In fact, 80% of the air in our atmosphere is made of nitrogen. Your body does not use the nitrogen that you inhale with each breath. But, like all living things, your body needs nitrogen. Your body gets the nitrogen it needs to grow from food. Most plants get the nitrogen they need from soil. Many farmers use fertilizers to add nitrogen to the soil to help plants grow larger and faster. Both nitrogen fertilizers and forest fires add huge amounts of nitrogen into the soil and nearby lakes and rivers. Water full of nitrogen causes plants and algae to grow very fast and then die all at once when there are too many for the environment to support.

Phosphorus Cycle:::::::::::::: Phosphorus enters the environment from rocks or deposits laid down on the earth many years ago. The phosphate rock is commercially available form is called apatite. Other deposits may be from fossilized bone or bird droppings called guano. Weathering and erosion of rocks gradually releases phosphorus as phosphate ions which are soluble in water. Land plants need phosphate as a fertilizer or nutrient.

Phosphate is incorporated into many molecules essential for life such as ATP, adenosine triphosphate, which is important in the storage and use of energy. It is also in the backbone of DNA and RNA which is involved with coding for genetics. When plant materials and waste products decay through bacterial action, the phosphate is released and returned to the environment for reuse. Much of the phosphate eventually is washed into the water from erosion and leaching. Again water plants and algae utilize the phosphate as a nutrient. Studies have shown that phosphate is the limiting agent in the growth of plants and algae. If not enough is present, the plants are slow growing or stunted. If too much phosphate is present excess growth may occur, particularly in algae. A large percentage of the phosphate in water is precipitated from the water as iron phosphate which is insoluble. If the phosphate is in shallow sediments, it may be readily recycled back into the water for further reuse. In deeper sediments in water, it is available for use only as part of a general uplifting of rock formations for the cycle to repeat itself.

Human Inputs to the Phosphorus Cycle: Human influences on the phosphate cycle come mainly from the introduction and use of commercial synthetic fertilizers. The phosphate is obtained through mining of

certain deposits of calcium phosphate called apatite. Huge quantities of sulfuric acid are used in the conversion of the phosphate rock into a fertilizer product called "super phosphate". Plants may not be able to utilize all of the phosphate fertilizer applied, as a consequence, much of it is lost form the land through the water run-off. The phosphate in the water is eventually precipitated as sediments at the bottom of the body of water. In certain lakes and ponds this may be redissolved and recyled as a problem nutrient. Animal wastes or manure may also be applied to the land as fertilizer. If misapplied on frozen ground during the winter, much of it may lost as run-off during the spring thaw. In certain area very large feed lots of animals, may result in excessive run-off of phosphate and nitrate into streams. Other human sources of phosphate are in the out flows from municipal sewage treatment plants. Without an expensive tertiary treatment, the phosphate in sewage is not removed during various treatment operations. Again an extra amount of phosphate enters the water.

The Rock Cycle
Over many thousands of years, energy from the Sun moves the wind and water at the Earth’s surface with enough force to break rocks apart into sand and other types of sediment. When sediment is buried and cemented together, it becomes a sedimentary rock such as sandstone or shale. If rocks are buried very deeply, they are in an environment that is very hot and has high pressure. The crystals and texture of the rocks change as they turn into metamorphic rocks like marble or slate. If, deep underground, rocks are put under too much pressure and temperatures that are too hot, they will melt, forming molten rock called magma. Sometimes magma cools and forms igneous rock deep underground. Other times magma flows to the Earth’s surface and erupts from a volcano. Rocks can affect the atmosphere! Erupting volcanoes send tiny particles of ash and gases into the atmosphere. Tiny particles of ash help make raindrops in the atmosphere as water condenses around them. The gases released from volcanoes can become sulfuric acid droplets that screen out sunlight. Large volcanic eruptions can even reduce Earth’s temperature for months or several years.

The Water Cycle
Water plays many different roles on the Earth. Some is at the poles in ice caps, and some is in the snow and glaciers at the tops of high mountains. Some is in lakes and streams, and some is underground. Some is vapor in the atmosphere. But most of the water on Earth is in the oceans.

Water is always on the move! The Sun’s energy causes water to evaporate from oceans and lakes into the atmosphere. Plants and animals also release water vapor into the atmosphere as they breathe. When the atmosphere cools, water vapor condenses; making clouds that might produce rain or snow. Water has been recycled in its different forms as ice, liquid, or vapor --for more than 3.5 billion years.

The Energy Balance
Earth gets all its energy from the Sun and loses energy into space If more energy is lost into space than is received from the Sun, the planet gets cooler. If it loses less energy than it receives, the planet will warm up. Have you noticed that it is often cooler when there are clouds in the sky? Some types of clouds act like giant sun umbrellas, shading the Earth and reflecting the sunlight that hits them. Other types of clouds act like a jacket, holding the heat in and preventing it from leaving the atmosphere. Today, most clouds act more like a sun umbrella and help keep our climate cool. However, this could change if global warming affects the type of clouds, their thickness, and how much water or ice they contain. While it might be quite warm in the countryside on a summer day, it can get unbearably hot in a nearby city! That’s because the buildings and pavement in cities absorb oodles of sunlight, much more than the countryside. These cities are called “heat islands.” The countryside is also cooled by water evaporating from lakes and given off by the plants in forests and fields. Cities have fewer plants and bodies of water and so are not cooled very much by evaporation.

The Active Atmosphere
Has Earth’s atmosphere ruffled your hair, blown your homework down the street, or turned your umbrella inside out? The atmosphere, a thin blanket of gases that surrounds Earth, transports heat and water and filters out deadly ultraviolet radiation. Whether it is just a gentle breeze or a hurricane-force gale, Earth’s atmosphere is constantly on the move.

When the atmosphere moves, it evens out differences in temperature between the chilly poles and the warm equator. Warm air from the equator moves toward the poles and cold air from the poles moves toward the equator. This circulation of air is disrupted a bit by the Earth’s rotation. This makes counterclockwise winds around hurricanes, winter storms, tornadoes, and other low-pressure areas north of the equator and clockwise south of the equator.

The Ocean in Motion
The ocean water is in motion because of differences in temperature and saltiness. Water that is warmed at the sea surface near the equator moves toward the chilly poles. Cold, salty currents flow into the deepest parts of the sea. Oceans can hold a large amount of heat energy – much more than the atmosphere. In the past few decades, Earth’s oceans have become warmer. Even as far as 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) below the surface of the sea, the ocean water has been warmed. Scientists estimate the oceans may have absorbed up to half of the energy trapped by greenhouse gases over the last century.

Biogeochemical cycles:
In ecology and Earth science, a biogeochemical cycle or substance turnover or cycling of substances is a pathway by which achemical element or molecule moves through both biotic (biosphere) and abiotic (lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere) compartments of Earth. A cycle is a series of change which comes back [1][2] to the starting point and which can be repeated. The term ―biogeochemical‖ tells us that biological; geological and chemical factors are all involved. On the other hand the circulation of chemical nutrients like carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, and water etc. through the biological and physical world are known as biogeochemical cycle. In effect, the element is recycled, although in some cycles there may be places (called reservoirs) where the element is accumulated or held for a long period of time (such as an ocean or lake for water).

Nitrogen cycle
The nitrogen cycle is the process by which nitrogen is converted between its various chemical forms. This transformation can be carried out by both biological and non-biological processes. Important processes in the nitrogen cycle include fixation, mineralization, nitrification, and denitrification. The majority of Earth's [1] atmosphere (approximately 78%) is nitrogen, making it the largest pool of nitrogen. However, atmospheric nitrogen has limited availability for biological use, leading to a scarcity of usable nitrogen in many types of ecosystems. The nitrogen cycle is of particular interest to ecologists because nitrogen availability can affect the rate of key ecosystem processes, includingprimary production and decomposition. Human activities such as fossil fuel combustion, use of artificial nitrogen fertilizers, and release of nitrogen in wastewater have dramatically altered the global nitrogen cycle. A 2011 study has cast doubt on the traditional model of the nitrogen cycle described below; nitrogen from rocks may [2] also be a significant source not previously included.

The processes of the nitrogen cycle
Nitrogen is present in the environment in a wide variety of chemical forms including organic + nitrogen, ammonium (NH4 ), nitrite (NO2 ), nitrate (NO3 ), nitrous oxide (N2O), nitric oxide (NO) or inorganic nitrogen gas (N2). Organic nitrogen may be in the form of a living organism, humus or in the intermediate products of organic matter decomposition. The processes of the nitrogen cycle transform nitrogen from one form to another. Many of those processes are carried out by microbes, either in their effort to harvest energy or to accumulate nitrogen in a form needed for their growth. The diagram above shows how these processes fit together to form the nitrogen cycle.

Nitrogen fixation
Atmospheric nitrogen must be processed, or "fixed" (see page on nitrogen fixation), to be used by plants. Some fixation occurs in lightning strikes, but most fixation is done by free-living or symbioticbacteria. These bacteria have the nitrogenase enzyme that combines gaseous nitrogen with hydrogen to produce ammonia, which is then further converted by the bacteria to make their own organic compounds. Most biological nitrogen fixation occurs by the activity of Mo-nitrogenase, found in a wide variety of bacteria and some Archaea. Mo-nitrogenase is a complex two [5] component enzyme that has multiple metal-containing prosthetic groups. Some nitrogen fixing bacteria, such as Rhizobium, live in the root nodules of legumes (such as peas or beans). Here they form a mutualisticrelationship with the plant, producing ammonia in exchange for carbohydrates. Nutrient-poor soils can be planted with legumes to enrich them with nitrogen. A few other plants can form suchsymbioses. Today, about 30% of the total fixed nitrogen is [6] manufactured in ammonia chemical plants. [edit]Conversion of N2 The conversion of nitrogen (N2) from the atmosphere into a form readily available to plants and hence to animals and humans is an important step in the nitrogen cycle, which distributes the supply of this essential nutrient. There are [3] four ways to convert N2 (atmospheric nitrogen gas) into more chemically reactive forms: 1. Biological fixation: some symbiotic bacteria (most often associated with leguminous plants) and some freeliving bacteria are able to fix nitrogen as organic nitrogen. An example of mutualistic nitrogen fixing bacteria are the Rhizobium bacteria, which live in legume root nodules. These species are diazotrophs. An example of the free-living bacteria is Azotobacter. 2. Industrial N-fixation: Under great pressure, at a temperature of 600 C, and with the use of an iron catalyst, hydrogen (usually derived from natural gas or petroleum) and atmospheric nitrogen can be combined to form ammonia (NH3) in the Haber-Bosch process which is used to make fertilizer and explosives. 3. Combustion of fossil fuels: automobile engines and thermal power plants, which release various nitrogen oxides (NOx). 4. Other processes: In addition, the formation of NO from N 2 and O2 due to photons and especially lightning, can fix nitrogen. [edit]Assimilation Plants take nitrogen from the soil, by absorption through their roots in the form of either nitrate ions or ammonium ions. All nitrogen obtained by animals can be traced back to the eating of plants at some stage of the food chain. Plants can absorb nitrate or ammonium ions from the soil via their root hairs. If nitrate is absorbed, it is first reduced [3] to nitrite ions and then ammonium ions for incorporation into amino acids, nucleic acids, and chlorophyll. In plants that have a mutualistic relationship with rhizobia, some nitrogen is assimilated in the form of ammonium ions directly from the nodules. Animals, fungi, and otherheterotrophic organisms obtain nitrogen by ingestion of amino acids, nucleotides and other small organic molecules. [edit]Ammonification When a plant or animal dies, or an animal expels waste, the initial form of nitrogen is organic. Bacteria, or fungi in + some cases, convert the organic nitrogen within the remains back into ammonium(NH4 ), a process called ammonification or mineralization. Enzymes Involved:

  

GS: Gln Synthetase (Cytosolic & PLastid) GOGAT: Glu 2-oxoglutarate aminotransferase (Ferredoxin & NADH dependent) GDH: Glu Dehydrogenase:

Minor Role in ammonium assimilation.

Important in amino acid catabolism.

[edit]Nitrification Main article: Nitrification The conversion of ammonium to nitrate is performed primarily by soil-living bacteria and other nitrifying bacteria. In + the primary stage of nitrification, the oxidation of ammonium (NH4 ) is performed by bacteria such as the Nitrosomonas species, which converts ammonia to nitrites (NO2 ). Other bacterial species, such as - [3] the Nitrobacter, are responsible for the oxidation of the nitrites into nitrates (NO3 ). It is important for the nitrites to be converted to nitrates because accumulated nitrites are toxic to plant life. Due to their very high solubility, nitrates can enter groundwater. Elevated nitrate in groundwater is a concern for drinking water use because nitrate can interfere with blood-oxygen levels in infants and cause methemoglobinemia or [7] blue-baby syndrome. Where groundwater recharges stream flow, nitrate-enriched groundwater can contribute to eutrophication, a process that leads to high algal, especially blue-green algal populations and the death of aquatic life due to the algae's excessive demand for oxygen. While not directly toxic to fish life, like ammonia, nitrate can have indirect effects on fish if it contributes to this eutrophication. Nitrogen has contributed to severe eutrophication problems in some water bodies. Since 2006, the application of nitrogen fertilizer has been increasingly controlled in Britain and the United States. This is occurring along the same lines as control of phosphorus fertilizer, restriction of which is normally considered essential to the recovery of eutrophied waterbodies. [edit]Denitrification Main article: Denitrification Denitrification is the reduction of nitrates back into the largely inert nitrogen gas (N 2), completing the nitrogen cycle. [3] This process is performed by bacterial species such as Pseudomonas andClostridium in anaerobic conditions. They use the nitrate as an electron acceptor in the place of oxygen during respiration. These facultatively anaerobic bacteria can also live in aerobic conditions. [edit]Anaerobic

ammonium oxidation

Main article: Anammox In this biological process, nitrite and ammonium are converted directly into elemental nitrogen (N2) gas. This process makes up a major proportion of elemental nitrogen conversion in the oceans.

Marine nitrogen cycle
The nitrogen cycle is an important process in the ocean as well. While the overall cycle is similar, there are different players and modes of transfer for nitrogen in the ocean. Nitrogen enters the water through precipitation, runoff, or as N2 from the atmosphere. Nitrogen cannot be utilized by phytoplankton as N2 so it must undergo nitrogen fixation [8] which is performed predominately by cyanobacteria. Without supplies of fixed nitrogen entering the marine cycle the [9] fixed nitrogen would be used up in about 2000 years. Phytoplankton need nitrogen in biologically available forms for the initial synthesis of organic matter. Ammonia and urea are released into the water by excretion from plankton. Nitrogen sources are removed from the euphotic zone by the downward movement of the organic matter. This can occur from sinking of phytoplankton, vertical mixing, or sinking of waste of vertical migrators. The sinking results in ammonia being introduced at lower depths below the euphotic zone. Bacteria are able to convert ammonia to nitrite [10] and nitrate but they are inhibited by light so this must occur below the euphotic zone. Ammonification or Mineralization is performed by bacteria to convert the ammonia to ammonium. Nitrificationcan then occur to [11] convert the ammonium to nitrite and nitrate. Nitrate can be returned to the euphotic zone by vertical mixing and upwelling where it can be taken up by phytoplankton to continue the cycle. N2 can be returned to the atmosphere through denitrification.

NH4 is thought to be the preferred source of fixed nitrogen for phytoplankton because its assimilation does not involve a redox reaction and therefore requires little energy. However NO 3 is more abundant so most phytoplankton have adapted to have the enzymes necessary to undertake this reduction (nitrate reductase). There are a few notable [9] and well-known exceptions that includeProchlorococcus and some Synechococcus. These species can only take up + nitrogen as NH4 . The nutrients in the ocean are not uniformly distributed. Areas of upwelling provide supplies of nitrogen from below the euphotic zone. Coastal zones provide nitrogen from runoff and upwelling occurs readily along the coast. However, the rate at which nitrogen can be taken up by phytoplankton is decreased in oligotrophic waters all year-round and [12] temperate water in the summer resulting in lower primary production. The distribution of the different forms of nitrogen varies throughout the oceans as well. Nitrate is depleted in near-surface water except in upwelling regions. Coastal upwelling regions usually have high nitrate and chlorophyll levels as a result of the increased production. However, there are regions of high surface nitrate but low chlorophyll that are referred to as HNLC (high nitrogen, low chlorophyll) regions. As of now the best explanation for HNLC regions relates to iron limitation in the ocean. In recent years iron has become an important player when discussing ocean dynamics and nutrient cycles. The input of iron varies by region and is delivered to the ocean by dust (from dust storms) and is leached out of rocks. Iron is under consideration as the true limiting element in the ocean. NH4 and NO2 show a maximum concentration at 50–80 m (lower end of the euphotic zone) with decreasing + concentration below that depth. This distribution can be accounted for by the fact that NO 2and NH4 are intermediate [9] + species. They are both rapidly produced and consumed through the water column. The amount of NH4 in the [9] + ocean is about 3 orders of magnitude less than nitrate. Between NH4 , NO2, and NO3, NO2 has the fastest turnover rate. It can be produced during NO3 assimilation, nitrification, and denitrification; however, it is immediately consumed again.


Water cycle
The water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle or H2O cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth. Water can change states among liquid, vapor, and solid at various places in the water cycle. Although the balance of water on Earth remains fairly constant over time, individual water molecules can come and go, in and out of the atmosphere. The water moves from one reservoir to another, such as

from river to ocean, or from the ocean to the atmosphere, by the physical processes of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, infiltration, runoff, and subsurface flow. In so doing, the water goes through different phases: liquid, solid, and gas. The hydrologic cycle involves the exchange of heat energy, which leads to temperature changes. For instance, in the process of evaporation, water takes up energy from the surroundings and cools the environment. Conversely, in the process of condensation, water releases energy to its surroundings, warming the environment. The water cycle figures significantly in the maintenance of life and ecosystems on Earth. Even as water in each reservoir plays an important role, the water cycle brings added significance to the presence of water on our planet. By transferring water from one reservoir to another, the water cycle purifies water, replenishes the land with freshwater, and transports minerals to different parts of the globe. It is also involved in reshaping the geological features of the Earth, through such processes as erosion and sedimentation. In addition, as the water cycle also involves heat exchange, it exerts an influence on climate as well.

Precipitation Condensed water vapor that falls to the Earth's surface . Most precipitation occurs as rain, but also includes snow,hail, fog drip, graupel, and sleet.
3 [1]

Approximately 505,000 km (121,000 cu mi) of water falls as


precipitation each year, 398,000 km (95,000 cu mi) of it over the oceans. Canopy interception

The precipitation that is intercepted by plant foliage and eventually evaporates back to the atmosphere rather than falling to the ground. Snowmelt

The runoff produced by melting snow. Runoff The variety of ways by which water moves across the land. This includes both surface runoff and channel runoff. As it flows, the water may seep into the ground, evaporate into the air, become stored in lakes or reservoirs, or be extracted for agricultural or other human uses. Infiltration The flow of water from the ground surface into the ground. Once infiltrated, the water becomes soil moisture or groundwater.

Subsurface flow The flow of water underground, in the vadose zone and aquifers. Subsurface water may return to the surface (e.g. as a spring or by being pumped) or eventually seep into the oceans. Water returns to the land surface at lower elevation than where it infiltrated, under the force of gravity or gravity induced pressures. Groundwater tends to move slowly, and is replenished slowly, so it can remain in aquifers for thousands of years. Evaporation The transformation of water from liquid to gas phases as it moves from the ground or bodies of water into the overlying atmosphere.

The source of energy for evaporation is primarily solar radiation. Evaporation

often implicitly includes transpiration from plants, though together they are specifically referred to as evapotranspiration. Total annual evapotranspiration amounts to approximately 505,000 km (121,000 cu mi) of water, 434,000 km (104,000 cu mi) of which evaporates from the oceans. Sublimation The state change directly from solid water (snow or ice) to water vapor. Advection The movement of water — in solid, liquid, or vapor states — through the atmosphere. Without advection, water that evaporated over the oceans could not precipitate over land. Condensation The transformation of water vapor to liquid water droplets in the air, creating clouds and fog. Transpiration The release of water vapor from plants and soil into the air. Water vapor is a gas that cannot be seen
[7] [6] [5] 3 [2] 3

Carbon cycle
The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere,pedosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the Earth. It is one of the most important cycles of the earth and allows for carbon to be recycled and reused throughout the biosphere and all of its [citation needed] organisms. The carbon cycle was initially discovered by Joseph Priestley and Antoine Lavoisier, and popularized byHumphry [1] Davy. It is now usually thought of as including the following major reservoirs of carbon interconnected by pathways of exchange:

    

The atmosphere The terrestrial biosphere, which is usually defined to include fresh water systems and non-living organic material, such as soil carbon. The oceans, including dissolved inorganic carbon and living and non-living marine biota, The sediments including fossil fuels. The Earth's interior, carbon from the Earth's mantle and crust is released to the atmosphere and hydrosphere by volcanoes and geothermal systems.

The annual movements of carbon, the carbon exchanges between reservoirs, occur because of various chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes. The ocean contains the largest active pool of carbon near the surface of the Earth, but the deep ocean part of this pool does not rapidly exchange with the atmosphere in the absence of an external influence, such as a black smoker or an uncontrolled deep-water oil well leak.

The global carbon budget is the balance of the exchanges (incomes and losses) of carbon between the carbon reservoirs or between one specific loop (e.g., atmosphere ↔ biosphere) of the carbon cycle. An examination of the carbon budget of a pool or reservoir can provide information about whether the pool or reservoir is functioning as a source or sink for carbon dioxide.

Oxygen cycle::::: The Oxygen cycle is the bio-geochemical cycle that describes the movement of oxygen within its three main reservoirs: theatmosphere (air), the total content of biological matter within the biosphere (the global sum of all ecosystems), and the lithosphere(Earth's crust). Failures in the oxygen cycle within the hydrosphere (the combined mass of water found on, under, and over the surface of a planet) can result in the development of hypoxia zones. The main driving factor of the oxygen cycle is photosynthesis, which is responsible for the modern Earth's atmosphere and life.

By far the largest reservoir of Earth's oxygen is within the silicate and oxide minerals of the crust and mantle (99.5%). Only a small portion has been released as free oxygen to the biosphere (0.01%) and atmosphere (0.36%). The main source of atmospheric oxygen is photosynthesis, which produces sugars and oxygen from carbon dioxide and water:6CO2 + 6H2O + energy → C6H12O6 + 6O2 Photosynthesizing organisms include the plant life of the land areas as well as the phytoplankton of the oceans. The tiny marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus was discovered in 1986 and accounts for more than half of the [1] photosynthesis of the open ocean.

An additional source of atmospheric oxygen comes from photolysis, whereby high energy ultraviolet radiation breaks down atmospheric water and nitrous oxide into component atoms. The free H and N atoms escape into space leaving O2 in the atmosphere: 2H2O + energy → 4H + O2 2N2O + energy → 4N + O2 The main way oxygen is lost from the atmosphere is via respiration and decay, mechanisms in which animal life and bacteria consume oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Because the lithosphere consumes oxygen. An example of surface weathering chemistry is formation of iron-oxides (rust): 4FeO + O2 → 2Fe2O3 Main article: Mineral redox buffer Oxygen is also cycled between the biosphere and lithosphere. Marine organisms in the biosphere create calcium carbonate shell material (Ca CO3) that is rich in oxygen. When the organism dies its shell is deposited on the shallow sea floor and buried over time to create the limestone rock of the lithosphere. Weathering processes initiated by organisms can also free oxygen from the lithosphere. Plants and animals extract nutrient minerals from rocks and release oxygen in the process.

The presence of atmospheric oxygen has led to the formation of ozone (O3) and the ozone layer within the stratosphere. The ozone layer is extremely important to modern life as it absorbs harmfulultraviolet radiation: O2 + uv energy → 2O O + O2 → O3

Phosphorus cycle
The phosphorus cycle is the biogeochemical cycle that describes the movement of phosphorus through the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Unlike many other biogeochemical cycles, theatmosphere does not play a significant role in the movement of phosphorus, because phosphorus and phosphorus-based compounds are usually solids at the typical ranges of temperature and pressure found on Earth. The production of phosphine gas occurs only in specialized, local conditions. Low phosphorus (chemical symbol, P) availability slows down microbial growth, which has been shown in studies of soil microbial biomass. Soil microorganisms act as sinks and sources of available P in the biogeochemical [1] cycle. Locally, transformations of PO4 are microbially driven; however, the major transfers in the global cycle of P [2] are not driven by microbial reactions, but by tectonicmovements in geologic time. Further studies need to be performed for integrating different processes and factors related to gross phosphorus mineralization and microbial phosphorus turnover in general.

Process of the cycle
Phosphates move quickly through plants and animals; however, the processes that move them through the soil or ocean are very slow, making the phosphorus cycle overall one of the slowest biogeochemical cycles. Unlike other cycles of matter compounds, phosphorus cannot usually be found in air as a gas, it only occurs under highly reducing conditions as the gas Phosphine PH3. This is because at normal temperature and circumstances, it is a solid in the form of red and white phosphorus. It usually cycles through water, soil and sediments. Phosphorus is typically the limiting nutrient found in streams, lakes and fresh water environments. As rocks and sediments gradually wear down, phosphate is released. In the atmosphere phosphorus is mainly small dust particles. Initially, phosphate weathers from rocks. The small losses in a terrestrial system caused by leaching through the action of rain are balanced in the gains from weathering rocks. In soil, phosphate is absorbed on clay surfaces and organic matter particles and becomes incorporated (immobilized). Plants dissolve ionized forms of phosphate. Herbivores obtain phosphorus by eating plants, and carnivores by eating herbivores. Herbivores and carnivores excrete phosphorus as a waste product in urine and feces. Phosphorus is released back to the soil when plants or animal matter decomposes and the cycle repeats.

Sulfur cycle
The sulfur cycle is the collection of processes by which sulfur moves to and from minerals (including the waterways) and living systems. Such biogeochemical cycles are important in geologybecause they affect many minerals. Biogeochemical cycles are also important for life because sulfur is an essential element, being a constituent of [1] many proteins and cofactors. Steps of the sulfur cycle are:

   

Mineralization of organic sulfur into inorganic forms, such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S), elemental sulfur, as well as sulfide minerals. Oxidation of hydrogen sulfide, sulfide, and elemental sulfur (S) to sulfate (SO4 ). Reduction of sulfate to sulfide. Incorporation sulfide into organic compounds (including metal-containing derivatives).

These are often termed as follows: Assimilative sulfate reduction (see also sulfur assimilation) in which sulfate (SO4 ) is reduced by plants, fungi and various prokaryotes. The oxidation states of sulfur are +6 in sulfate and –2 in R–SH. Desulfurization in which organic molecules containing sulfur can be desulfurized, producing hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S, oxidation state = –2). An analogous process for organic nitrogen compounds is deamination.

Oxidation of hydrogen sulfide produces elemental sulfur (S8), oxidation state = 0. This reaction occurs in the photosynthetic green and purple sulfur bacteriaand some chemolithotrophs. Often the elemental sulfur is stored as polysulfides. oxidation of elemental sulfur by sulfur oxidizers produces sulfate. Dissimilative sulfur reduction in which elemental sulfur can be reduced to hydrogen sulfide. Dissimilative sulfate reduction in which sulfate reducers generate hydrogen sulfide from sulfate.