Topic_21___Biogeochemical_Cycles - Topic 21: Biogeochemical...

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Topic 21: Biogeochemical Cycles (Reading: p. 9, 109-135) I. What are biogeochemical cycles? A. These are the systems of pathways within and between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere, along which matter (substances, material, stuff) and energy flows. The substances that are of interest include water, elements, nutrients, isotopes, etc. B. "Cycle" refers to the fact that energy and matter do not simply accumulate in each sphere, but are constantly being exchanged between the spheres. The cycles may be used to represent relatively small scale phenomena such as those occurring within a lake, or global scale phenomena, which is what we will be concerned with here. II. Why bother studying biogeochemical cycles? A. The integrity of these cycles is essential for the operation of 1. the climate system: greenhouse gases are part of carbon cycle 2. life systems: essential nutrients for biosphere – Carbon, and the elements linked to it (CHONSP) B. Human activities have perturbed these cycles – the way in which the natural cycle works must be understood in order to assess the past, present and future effects of human activities. III. Basics of biogeochemical cycles A. Reservoir 1. The compartment, sphere, or place that contains the element of interest. 2.
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Topic_21___Biogeochemical_Cycles - Topic 21: Biogeochemical...

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