Life is composed of many chemical elements, which must exist in the right amounts, the right concentrations, and the right ratios to one another. If these conditions are not met, then life is limited. The study of chemical availability and biogeochemical cycles is important to the solution of many environmental problems. After reading this chapter, you should understand:
- What are the major biogeochemical cycles.
- What are the major factors and processes that control biogeochemical cycles.
- Why some chemical elements cycle quickly and some slowly.
- How each major component of Earth's global system (the atmosphere, waters, solid surfaces, and life) are involved and linked with biogeochemical cycles.
- How the biogeochemical cycles most important to life, especially the carbon cycle, generally operate.
- How humans affect biogeochemical cycles.