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Phosphorus Cycle

Biogeochemical Cycles, Phosphorus Functions And Recycling, Phosphorus As A Limiting Nutrient In Ecosystems

We live in a world that is constantly recycling materials. All life is composed of the very same matter that exists in the non-living, or abiotic, world. The elements that are found in living things, like carbon, hydrogen, and calcium are also found in abioic compounds of the environment, like soil or rock. Because the quantities of usable sources of materials and elements that compose the living things on our planet are limited, life on Earth is dependent on recycling. The chemical constituents that make up a plant, for instance, might once have been the constituents of a former animal that died. The water we drink and is incorporated into our bodies, might once have been the same water that existed within dinosaurs, now long extinct. But matter is not simply recycled among living things. It is also recycled between the living and the non-living. The potassium in a banana, for instance, is recycled from potassium found in soil. This process of recycling, especially nutrients, between living and non-living components of the environment is called biogeochemical cycling. The phosphorus cycle is the biogeochemical cycling of phosphorus, a very important element of living things, between the living and nonliving parts of our world. Human activity can have effects on phosphorus cycling, which in turn has profound effects on ecological systems.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Philosophy of Mind - Early Ideas to Planck length