Some elements and their compounds have a significant role in the living protoplasm and are needed in huge amounts. These nutrients are known as essential nutrients or macro nutrients. A few of the macronutrients are nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, calcium, potassium, sulphur, phosphorus and magnesium.
Biogeochemical cycles are the cyclic pathways via which chemical elements shift from environment to organism and returning to the environment. Since such movements of inorganic compounds and elements is important for maintenance of life, they are also referred to as nutrient cycles. In biosphere, the biogenetic nutrients exist in two states:
a) Cycling pool: is the pool of nutrients which is frequently exchanged between the biotic and abiotic components of the biosphere.
b) Reservoir pool: is the pool of nutrients from where the nutrients are gradually transferred to cycling pool.
Biogeochemical cycles serve a number of functions at ecosystem level plus ensuring survival of numerous organisms such as humans. Here are some of the importances of biogeochemical cycles.
Biogeochemical cycles allow the transfer of molecules from one area to another. Some elements including nitrogen are highly focused in the atmosphere, however some of the atmospheric nitrogen is moved to soil via the nitrogen cycle (which is a biogeochemical cycle).
Biogeochemical cycles allow the transformation of matter from one form to other. This transformation permits the utilization of matter in a form specific to particular organisms. For instance humans utilize water in fluid form. Through the hydrological cycle, water vapour is condensed to fluid and ice converted to liquid water.
Biogeochemical cycles helps in functioning of ecosystems. An ecosystem is actually a system that correctly functions in a state of equilibrium and when ever any unbalances occur, the ecosystem via the biogeochemical cycles restores to the equilibrium state; this may take several days or many years.
Biogeochemical cycles help the storage of elements. Elements carried from the biogeochemical cycles are saved in their natural reservoirs and are released to organisms in small consumable amounts.
Biogeochemical cycles link living organisms with living organisms, living organisms with the non living organisms and nonliving organisms with non living organism.
You can find many biogeochemical cycles that are presently being analyzed for the first time as climate change and human impacts are drastically altering the intensity, speed and balance of these relatively not known cycles. These newly analyzed biogeochemical cycles contain
The human-caused cycle of atrazine, which may impact certain species and
The mercury cycle.
Biogeochemical cycles usually involve hot equilibrium states: a balance in the cycling of the element among compartments. However, overall balance may involve compartments distributed on a global scale.
As biogeochemical cycles explain the movements of substances on the whole globe, the research of these is inherently multidiciplinary. The carbon cycle may be linked to research in ecology and atmospheric sciences. Biochemical dynamics would be also linked to the fields of pedology and geology.
The four biogeochemical cycles are:
the nitrogen cycle,
the carbon cycle,
the phosphorus cycle,
the oxygen cycle