4.2 Nutrient Cycling
Module 1 ~ Lesson 4
The biosphere is a closed system in relation to the matter
The biosphere is an open system in relation to energy
Since nutrients are not replenished in the biosphere, they are finite and cycle through the biosphere. The biogeochemical cycles are the pathways through which all nutrients cycle.
Nutrients cycle through both slow and rapid cycling. When nutrients move relatively quickly between organisms or abiotic components, this is called rapid cycling. Photosynthesis and cellular respiration are rapid cycles. When nutrients become unavailable for long periods of time (e.g., deep in the ocean or deposited in rocks) they are slow cycling.
Carbon composes almost 20% of the human body. It is also important in carbohydrates, fat, proteins, hormones, and vitamins. Life on Earth is carbon-based since carbon provides the framework to all molecules important in biological systems.
Oxygen is the most common element found in the human body. It is an important building block in carbohydrates, fat, proteins, hormones, and vitamins.
Phosphorus, Nitrogen and Sulfur
Phosphorus, nitrogen, and sulfur are found in proteins and vitamins. Nitrogen is also an important building block in DNA.