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survives by a
of energy flow
1. Global Cycles recycle nutrients through the
earth’s air, land, water, and living organisms.
2. Nutrients are the elements and
compounds that organisms need to live,
grow, and reproduce.
3. Biogeochemical cycles move these
substances through air, water, soil, rock and
describe the flow of essential
elements from the environment
through living organisms and
back into the environment.
Groundwater movement (slow)
We alter the water cycle by:
Withdrawing large amounts of
Clearing vegetation and eroding
Polluting surface and underground
Contributing to climate change.
1. Reservoir – oceans, air (as water vapor),
groundwater, lakes and glaciers;
evaporation, wind and
precipitation (rain) move water
from oceans to land
2. Assimilation – plants absorb water from
the ground, animals drink water
or eat other organisms which are
composed mostly of water
3. Release – plants transpire, animals breathe
and expel liquid wastes
1. Reservoir – atmosphere (as CO2), fossil fuels
(oil, coal), durable organic materials
(for example: cellulose).
2.Assimilation – plants use CO2 in
photosynthesis; animals consume
3. Release – plants and animals release CO2
through respiration and
decomposition; CO2 is released as
wood and fossil fuels are burned.
We alter the carbon
cycle by adding excess
CO2 to the atmosphere
than it is replaced.
(Nitrogen is required for the manufacture of
amino acids and nucleic acids)
1. Reservoir – atmosphere (as N2); soil (as NH4
or ammonium, NH3 or ammonia, N02
or nitrite, N03
- or nitrate
2. Assimilation – plants absorb nitrogen as
+ or as N03
obtain nitrogen by eating plants and
other animals. The stages in the
assimilation of nitrogen are as
Nitrogen Fixation: N2 to NH4
+ by nitrogen-fixing
bacteria (prokaryotes in the soil and root
nodules), N2 to N03
- by lightning and UV
+ to N02
- and N02
- to N03
- by various
3. Release – Denitrifying bacteria convert N03
to N2 (denitrification); detrivorous
bacteria convert organic compounds
back to NH4
+ (ammonification); animals
+ (or NH3) urea, or uric acid.
We alter the nitrogen cycle by:
Adding gases that contribute to acid
Adding nitrous oxide to the atmosphere
through farming practices which can
warm the atmosphere and deplete ozone.
Contaminating ground water from
nitrate ions in inorganic fertilizers.
Releasing nitrogen into the troposphere
fix more nitrogen
than all natural
Groundwater movement (slow)
1. Reservoir – erosion transfers phosphorus to water
and soil; sediments and rocks that
accumulate on ocean floors return to the
surface as a result of uplifting by geological
2. Assimilation – plants absorb inorganic PO4
(phosphate) from soils; animals obtain
organic phosphorus when they plants and
3. Release – plants and animals release phosphorus
when they decompose; animals excrete
phosphorus in their waste products
We remove large amounts of
phosphate from the earth to make
We reduce phosphorous in tropical
soils by clearing forests.
We add excess phosphates to aquatic
systems from runoff of animal wastes