Biogeochemical Cycles Dyleo phill

Water Cycle

The water cycle describes the existence and movement of water on Earth. Evaporation and sublimation both occur within the Water Cycle. Evaporation is when water changes into vapor (liquid -> gas). Sublimation is when ice changes into water vapor, completely skipping the liquid state (solid -> gas). Evapotranspiration is the sum of evaporation from the land surface along with transpiration from plants. There are 5 factors that affect the transpiration rate, including : Temperature, Relative Humidity, Wind and Air Movement, Soil-Moisture Availability, and the Type of Plant. Condensation is when gas turns into water (gas -> liquid). Precipitation is when something falls from the clouds; it can be different depending on temperature. Transpiration is when liquid is drawn from plants. Runoff is when precipitation rolls down a hill into a body of water.

The Carbon Cycle

The carbon cycle is the circulation of carbon in the biosphere. Carbon moves from the atmosphere to plants and animals by attaching to oxygen, causing it to infuse with plants, which are then eaten by animals. Carbon moves to the ground from plants and animals dying. Every time we exhale, carbon is released into the atmosphere, which is called respiration. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and keeps heat in the atmosphere. Coal, oil, and limestone store a great deal of carbon.

The Nitrogen Cycle

The nitrogen cycle is the continuous occurrence of events in which the atmospheric nitrogen and nitrogenous compounds in the soil are converted, by nitrification and nitrogen fixation, into substances that can be used by plants. Nitrogen is a component of DNA, RNA, and proteins. Nitrogen is unusable by living organisms due to the strong triple bond between N atoms and N2 molecules. Nitrate (NO3-), Nitrite (NO2-), and Ammonium (NH4+), are all involved in the nitrogen cycle. Nitrogen fixation is a process in which N2 is converted to ammonium. Denitrification is when nitrate and nitrite convert into dinitrogen and NO2. Nitrification is when ammonium is converted to nitrate. Nitrogen mineralization is when nitrogen is converted back into inorganic nitrogen. Nitrogen uptake is when ammonium is converted to organic N. Humans also have an impact on the nitrogen cycle; burning fossil fuels, using synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, and cultivating legumes.

The Phosphorous Cycle

The phosphorous cycle describes the movement of phosphorous through the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Phosphates are a critical part of life because they make up framework that holds DNA and RNA together. The phosphorous cycle differs from each other cycle because it doesn't include a gas phase. The largest store of phosphorous can be found in sedimentary rock. Because so much phosphorous can be found within rock, when it rains phosphates are distributed to the soil and water, which plants take in, and then animals eat those plants, causing phosphorous to be found within animals, plants, and rocks. Though phosphorous is important, too much can be considered a pollutant because it stimulates the growth of plankton and plants. Humans can contribute to the excessive levels of phosphorus by cutting trees down, and using fertilizers.


Created with images by James St. John - "Mudcracks along the shoreline of Storr's Lake (San Salvador Island, Bahamas) 11"

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