Cycling of Matter in Ecological Systems The balance of life… Or Biogeochemical Cycles Each element has its own story All nutrients flow from nonliving (abiotic) to living (biotic) and back to nonliving (abiotic) in what is called a biogeochemical cycle. Biogeochemical Cycles TWO MAJOR TYPES OF CYCLES Gaseous: atmo/hydro sphere Sedimentary: lithosphere Basic structure Input Internal cycling Output What elements are essential to life? Let’s get down to biochemistry!!! Wooo hooo…. CHOPKINS CaFe Mighty good The 12 most important elements for life…. Which one of these is the backbone of all organic molecules…? And the answer is…. CARBON Why!!!?? It is used as the building block in every organic molecule and therefore is the backbone of life. So…What does this mean in ecology? …let’s look at how carbon flows through an ecological system. Take it away Cathy….!! Carbon Cycle Carbon Cycle Carbon budget closely linked to Atmosphere, lithosphere and hydrosphere Mass movement of air around planet OCEANS contain majority of active carbon pool 38,000 Gt, mostly as bicarbonate and carbonate ions. Where did your carbon go? Let’s see the cycle in action… wps.aw.com/bc_smith_ecology_6/0,11183,2584893-,00.html Okay your all experts at this right?? Let’s look at our list of elements again CHOPKINS CaFe Mighty good The 12 most important elements for life…. Do you know what other elements are essential to ecosystem function??? Nitrogen and Phosphorus…These elements are essential to function and productivity of ecological systems. Importance of Nitrogen (N) Nitrogen is a part of all living cells and is a necessary part of all proteins, enzymes and metabolic processes involved in the synthesis and transfer of energy. Nitrogen is a part of chlorophyll, the green pigment of the plant that is responsible for photosynthesis. Importance of Nitrogen (N) Helps plants with rapid growth, increasing seed and fruit production and improving the quality of leaf and forage crops. Nitrogen often comes from the air (legumes get their N from the atmosphere, water or rainfall contributes very little nitrogen) Importance of Phosphorus (P) Like nitrogen, phosphorus (P) is an essential part of the process of photosynthesis. Involved in the formation of all oils, sugars, starches, etc. Helps with the transformation of solar energy into chemical energy; proper plant maturation; withstanding stress. Importance of Phosphorus (P) Effects rapid growth. Encourages blooming and root growth. Phosphorus originates from rocks Nitrogen Cycle (N) Phosphorus Cycle (P) Implications We observe the dynamic balance of matter cycles at all levels of scale from the ecological system to the individual organism. For Ecologists..Aldo Leopold’s dictum that an action is right when it maintains the stability and integrity of the biotic community holds true.