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Group 9

ES 2 Biogeochemical Process

Biogeochemical process/cycle is a pathway by which a chemical 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 to the starting point and which can be repeated. The term biogeochemical tell us that biological, geological and chemical factors are all involved. The circulation of chemical nutrients like carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, and water etc. through the biological and physical world are known as biogeochemical cycles. 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). Ecological systems (ecosystems) have many biogeochemical cycles operating as a part of the system, for example the water cycle, the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, etc. All chemical elements occurring in organisms are part of biogeochemical cycles. In addition to being a part of living organisms, these chemical elements also cycle through abiotic factors of ecosystems such as water (hydrosphere), land (lithosphere), and/or the air (atmosphere). The living factors of the planet can be referred to collectively as the biosphere. All the nutrients such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfurused in ecosystems by living organisms are a part of a closed system; therefore, these chemicals are recycled instead of being lost and replenished constantly such as in an open system.[8] The flow of energy in an ecosystem is an open system; the sun constantly gives the planet energy in the form of light while it is eventually used and lost in the form of heat throughout the trophic levels of a food web. Carbon is used to make carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, the major sources of food energy. These compounds are oxidized to release carbon dioxide, which can be captured by plants to make organic compounds. The chemical reaction is powered by the light energy of the sun. It is possible for an ecosystem to obtain energy without sunlight. Carbon must be combined with hydrogen and oxygen in order to be utilized as an energy source, and this process depends on sunlight. Ecosystems in the deep sea, where no sunlight can penetrate, use sulfur. Hydrogen sulfide near hydrothermal vents can be utilized by organisms such as the giant tube worm. In the sulfur cycle, sulfur can be forever recycled as a source of energy. Energy can be released through the oxidation and reduction of sulfur compounds (e.g., oxidizing elemental sulfur to sulfite and then to sulfate). Although the Earth constantly receives energy from the sun, its chemical composition is essentially fixed, as additional matter is only occasionally added by meteorites. Because this chemical composition is not replenished like energy, all processes that depend on these chemicals must be recycled. These cycles include both the living biosphere and the nonliving lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere. The chemicals are sometimes held for long periods of time in one place. This place is called a reservoir, which, for example, includes such things as coal deposits that are storing carbon for a long period of time. When chemicals are held for only short periods of time, they are being held in exchange pools. Examples of exchange pools include plants and animals.

Plants and animals utilize carbon to produce carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which can then be used to build their internal structures or to obtain energy. Plants and animals temporarily use carbon in their systems and then release it back into the air or surrounding medium. Generally, reservoirs are abiotic factors whereas exchange pools are biotic factors.[10] Carbon is held for a relatively short time in plants and animals in comparison to coal deposits. The amount of time that a chemical is held in one place is called its residence.[9]

Important Cycles The most well-known and important biogeochemical cycles, for example, include

the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, the oxygen cycle, the phosphorus cycle, the sulfur cycle, the water cycle, and the rock cycle.

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. Along with the nitrogen cycle and the water cycle, the carbon cycle comprises a sequence of events that are key to making the Earth capable of sustaining life; it describes the movement of carbon as it is recycled and reused throughout the biosphere.

Nitrogen Cycle

The nitrogen cycle is the process by which nitrogen is converted between its various chemical forms. This transformation can be carried out through both biological and physical processes. Important processes in the nitrogen cycle include fixation, mineralization, nitrification, and denitrification. The majority of Earth's atmosphere (approximately 80%) is nitrogen,[1] 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, including primary 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.

Oxygen cycle

The oxygen cycle is the biogeochemical cycle that describes the movement of oxygen within its three main reservoirs: the atmosphere (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 hypoxic zones. The main driving factor of the oxygen cycle is photosynthesis, which is responsible for the modern Earth's atmosphere and life as we know it (see the Great Oxygenation Event).

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, the atmosphere 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 cycle.[1] Locally, transformations of PO4 are microbially driven; however, the major transfers in the global cycle of P are not driven by microbial reactions, but by tectonic movements in geologic time.[2] Further studies need to be performed for integrating different processes and factors related to gross phosphorus mineralization and microbial phosphorus turnover in general.

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 geology because they affect many minerals. Biogeochemical cycles are also important for life because sulfur is an essential element, being a constituent of many proteins and cofactors.[1]

The Sulfur cycle (in general) 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 (SO42). Reduction of sulfate to sulfide. Incorporation sulfide into organic compounds (including metal-containing derivatives).

Structure of 3'-phosphoadenosine-5'-phosphosulfate, a key intermediate in the sulfur cycle. These are often termed as follows:

Assimilative sulfate reduction (see also sulfur assimilation) in which sulfate (SO42) 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 bacteria and 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. Water cycle

The Water Cycle (also known as the hydrologic cycle) is the journey water takes as it circulates from the land to the sky and back again. Accumulation - the process in which water pools in large bodies (like oceans, seas and lakes). Condensation - the process in which water vapor (a gas) in the air turns into liquid water. Condensing water forms clouds in the sky. Water drops that form on the outside of a glass of icy water are condensed water. (This term appears twice in the diagram.) Evaporation - the process in which liquid water becomes water vapor (a gas). Water vaporizes from the surfaces of oceans and lakes, from the surface of the land, and from melts in snow fields. Precipitation - the process in which water (in the form of rain, snow, sleet, or hail) falls from clouds in the sky. Subsurface Runoff - rain, snow melt, or other water that flows in underground streams, drains, or sewers.

Surface Runoff - rain, snow melt, or other water that flows in surface streams, rivers, or canals. Transpiration - the process in which some water within plants evaporates into the atmosphere. Water is first absorbed by the plant's roots, then later exits by evaporating through pores in the plant. Rock cycle The rock cycle is a fundamental concept in geology that describes the dynamic transitions through geologic time among the three main rock types: sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous. As the diagram to the right illustrates, each of the types of rocks are altered or destroyed when it is forced out of its equilibrium conditions. An igneous rock such as basalt may break down and dissolve when exposed to the atmosphere, or melt as it is subducted under a continent. Due to the driving forces of the rock cycle, plate tectonics and the water cycle, rocks do not remain in equilibrium and are forced to change as they encounter new environments. The rock cycle is an illustration that explains how the three rock types are related to each other, and how processes change from one type to another over time.

A diagram of the rock cycle. Legend: 1 = magma; 2 = crystallization (freezing of rock); 3 = igneous rocks; 4 = erosion; 5 = sedimentation; 6 = sediments & sedimentary rocks; 7 = tectonic burial and metamorphism; 8 = metamorphic rocks; 9 = melting.