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Biogeochemical Cycle
A biogeochemical cycle (or more generally a cycle of matter) is the pathway by which a chemical substance cycles (is turned over or moves through) the biotic and the abiotic compartments of Earth. The biotic compartment is the biosphere and the abiotic compartments are the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere. There are biogeochemical cycles for chemical elements, such as for calcium, carbon, hydrogen, mercury, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, selenium, iron and sulfur, as well as molecular cycles, such as for water and silica. There are also macroscopic cycles, such as the rock cycle, and human-induced cycles for synthetic compounds such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). In some cycles there are reservoirs where a substance can remain or be sequestered for a long period of time. Overview Energy flows directionally through ecosystems, entering as sunlight (or inorganic molecules for chemoautotrophs) and leaving as heat during the many transfers between trophic ...
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Biogeochemistry
Biogeochemistry is the scientific discipline that involves the study of the chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes and reactions that govern the composition of the natural environment (including the biosphere, the cryosphere, the hydrosphere, the pedosphere, the atmosphere, and the lithosphere). In particular, biogeochemistry is the study of biogeochemical cycles, the cycles of chemical elements such as carbon and nitrogen, and their interactions with and incorporation into living things transported through earth scale biological systems in space and time. The field focuses on chemical cycles which are either driven by or influence biological activity. Particular emphasis is placed on the study of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, iron, and phosphorus cycles. Biogeochemistry is a systems science closely related to systems ecology. History Early History Early Greeks established some of the core ideas of biogeochemistry, such as nature consisting of cycles. ...
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Chemical Substance
A chemical substance is a form of matter having constant chemical composition and characteristic properties. Some references add that chemical substance cannot be separated into its constituent elements by physical separation methods, i.e., without breaking chemical bonds. Chemical substances can be simple substances (substances consisting of a single chemical element), chemical compounds, or alloys. Chemical substances are often called 'pure' to set them apart from mixtures. A common example of a chemical substance is pure water; it has the same properties and the same ratio of hydrogen to oxygen whether it is isolated from a river or made in a laboratory. Other chemical substances commonly encountered in pure form are diamond (carbon), gold, table salt ( sodium chloride) and refined sugar ( sucrose). However, in practice, no substance is entirely pure, and chemical purity is specified according to the intended use of the chemical. Chemical substances exist as so ...
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Selenium Cycle
The selenium cycle is a biological cycle of selenium similar to the cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur. Within the cycle, there are organisms which reduce the most oxidized form of the element and different organisms complete the cycle by oxidizing the reduced element to the initial state. In the selenium cycle it has been found that bacteria, fungi, and plants, especially species of '' Astragalus'', metabolize the most oxidized forms of selenium, selenate or selenite, to selenide. It is also thought that microorganisms may be able to oxidize selenium of valence zero to selenium of valence +6. Evidence for a selenium cycle is found through the study of selenium accumulator plants. These plants are found in semi-arid, seleniferous soils. The plants biosynthesize forms of organic selenium compounds and release the compounds into the soil when they decay. If the compounds were not oxidized, then an increase in organic selenium would be seen, but selenium in these areas i ...
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Oxygen
Oxygen is the chemical element with the symbol O and atomic number 8. It is a member of the chalcogen group in the periodic table, a highly reactive nonmetal, and an oxidizing agent that readily forms oxides with most elements as well as with other compounds. Oxygen is Earth's most abundant element, and after hydrogen and helium, it is the third-most abundant element in the universe. At standard temperature and pressure, two atoms of the element bind to form dioxygen, a colorless and odorless diatomic gas with the formula . Diatomic oxygen gas currently constitutes 20.95% of the Earth's atmosphere, though this has changed considerably over long periods of time. Oxygen makes up almost half of the Earth's crust in the form of oxides.Atkins, P.; Jones, L.; Laverman, L. (2016).''Chemical Principles'', 7th edition. Freeman. Many major classes of organic molecules in living organisms contain oxygen atoms, such as proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and ...
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Nitrogen
Nitrogen is the chemical element with the symbol N and atomic number 7. Nitrogen is a nonmetal and the lightest member of group 15 of the periodic table, often called the pnictogens. It is a common element in the universe, estimated at seventh in total abundance in the Milky Way and the Solar System. At standard temperature and pressure, two atoms of the element bond to form N2, a colorless and odorless diatomic gas. N2 forms about 78% of Earth's atmosphere, making it the most abundant uncombined element. Nitrogen occurs in all organisms, primarily in amino acids (and thus proteins), in the nucleic acids ( DNA and RNA) and in the energy transfer molecule adenosine triphosphate. The human body contains about 3% nitrogen by mass, the fourth most abundant element in the body after oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. The nitrogen cycle describes the movement of the element from the air, into the biosphere and organic compounds, then back into the atmosphere. Many indus ...
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Carbon
Carbon () is a chemical element with the symbol C and atomic number 6. It is nonmetallic and tetravalent—its atom making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds. It belongs to group 14 of the periodic table. Carbon makes up only about 0.025 percent of Earth's crust. Three isotopes occur naturally, C and C being stable, while C is a radionuclide, decaying with a half-life of about 5,730 years. Carbon is one of the few elements known since antiquity. Carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the Earth's crust, and the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. Carbon's abundance, its unique diversity of organic compounds, and its unusual ability to form polymers at the temperatures commonly encountered on Earth, enables this element to serve as a common element of all known life. It is the second most abundant element in the human body by mass (about 18.5%) after oxygen. The atoms of carbo ...
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Ecosystem
An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the system through photosynthesis and is incorporated into plant tissue. By feeding on plants and on one another, animals play an important role in the movement of matter and energy through the system. They also influence the quantity of plant and microbial biomass present. By breaking down dead organic matter, decomposers release carbon back to the atmosphere and facilitate nutrient cycling by converting nutrients stored in dead biomass back to a form that can be readily used by plants and microbes. Ecosystems are controlled by external and internal Environmental factor, factors. External factors such as climate, parent material which forms the soil and topography, control the overall structure of an ecosystem but are not themselves influe ...
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CC-BY Icon
A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted "work".A "work" is any creative material made by a person. A painting, a graphic, a book, a song/lyrics to a song, or a photograph of almost anything are all examples of "works". A CC license is used when an author wants to give other people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that the author has created. CC provides an author flexibility (for example, they might choose to allow only non-commercial uses of a given work) and protects the people who use or redistribute an author's work from concerns of copyright infringement as long as they abide by the conditions that are specified in the license by which the author distributes the work. There are several types of Creative Commons licenses. Each license differs by several combinations that condition the terms of distribution. They were initially released on December 16, 2002, by ...
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Generalized Biogeochemical Cycle
A generalization is a form of abstraction whereby common properties of specific instances are formulated as general concepts or claims. Generalizations posit the existence of a domain or set of elements, as well as one or more common characteristics shared by those elements (thus creating a conceptual model). As such, they are the essential basis of all valid deductive inferences (particularly in logic, mathematics and science), where the process of verification is necessary to determine whether a generalization holds true for any given situation. Generalization can also be used to refer to the process of identifying the parts of a whole, as belonging to the whole. The parts, which might be unrelated when left on their own, may be brought together as a group, hence belonging to the whole by establishing a common relation between them. However, the parts cannot be generalized into a whole—until a common relation is established among ''all'' parts. This does not mean that the ...
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Polychlorinated Biphenyl
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are highly carcinogenic chemical compounds, formerly used in industrial and consumer products, whose production was banned in the United States by the Toxic Substances Control Act in 1979 and internationally by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2001. They are organic chlorine compounds with the formula C12 H10−''x'' Cl''x''; they were once widely used in the manufacture of carbonless copy paper, as heat transfer fluids, and as dielectric and coolant fluids for electrical equipment. Because of their longevity, PCBs are still widely in use, even though their manufacture has declined drastically since the 1960s, when a host of problems were identified. With the discovery of PCBs' environmental toxicity, and classification as persistent organic pollutants, their production was banned by United States federal law in 1978, and by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2001. The International Agency ...
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Rock Cycle
The rock cycle is a basic concept in geology that describes transitions through geologic time among the three main rock types: sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous. Each rock type is altered when it is forced out of its equilibrium conditions. For example, 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 change as they encounter new environments. The rock cycle explains how the three rock types are related to each other, and how processes change from one type to another over time. This cyclical aspect makes rock change a geologic cycle and, on planets containing life, a biogeochemical cycle. The rock cycle Transition to igneous rock When rocks are pushed deep under the Earth's surface, they may melt into magma. If the conditions no longer exist for the magma to stay ...
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