Sunday, April 19, 2015

Biogeochemical Cycle

By Anton Antonio
March 29, 2015

“Your dream becomes like oxygen.  You need it to breathe.  You need it to grow.  You need it to live.”  This is what the country’s prima ballerina, Liza Macuja-Elizalde, told the graduates of School of Humanities and the John Gokongwei School of Management of the Ateneo de Manila University during their graduation yesterday (March 28, 2015).  Well… what did Ms. Macuja-Elizalde mean?  She may not be aware of it but she was talking of the biogeochemical cycle.  She used terms like “oxygen”, “breathe”, “grow” and “live” as essentials to life… elements that somehow completes a biogeochemical cycle.

Biogeochemical cycle describes the movement of nutrients and chemical elements between living and non-living elements of the atmosphere (includes the different layers of air), lithosphere (includes soil, rocks and sediments), and hydrosphere (includes bodies of water).  In addition, the biological components (such as animals, fungi, plants, etc.) contain the chemicals in organic form.  The atmosphere provides oxygen, carbon and nitrogen for the living organisms while the lithosphere provides the nutritional requirement of plants to grow (such as phosphorous, potassium, sulphur, calcium, magnesium, iron, sodium, cobalt, etc.)  The biogeochemical cycle is recognized as the life support system on earth.

“Biogeochemical Cycle” is a term derived from the Greek word “bios” (meaning: life), “geo” (meaning: earth), “chemeia” (meaning: alchemy), and “kyklos” (meaning: wheel, circle or cycle).  Expanding their meaning even more: “bios” refer to all the living organisms that participate in the biogeochemical cycle; “geo” refers to the non-living components that are also part of the biogeochemical cycle for their primary function of storing nutrients; “chemical” refers to the chemical process of converting chemical elements from one state to a more useful form to support life.  All of these terms are supportive of each other and are vital cogs in the biogeochemical cycle.

Just my little thoughts…

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