Elements in the Biosphere

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The biosphere is a concept used in ecology and biology to describe the oceans, the lands of the Earth and the air. In other words, the biosphere contains all living things and the resources necessary to maintain that life. There are 12 elements from the periodic table that interact within the biosphere to produce, maintain and protect life on the Earth.

Ocean

The largest of all the Earth’s biomes is the ocean. Oceans can be divided into shores; the pelagic zone, or the first level of sea floor; the benthic zone, or the deep sea floor; and the abyss, or the unreachable bottom of the sea. The life process in the ocean and marine biomes contains a shelf or floor on which organisms can attach themselves. The elements processed through the life cycles in the ocean biome are magnesium, sodium, chlorine and sulfur.

Land

The Earth’s crust contains many elements. The most commonly found are oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Of these, oxygen is most prevalent at 51 percent. The next most abundant is silicon at 27 percent. The element with the next largest percentage is aluminum at 8 percent. The living creatures in the various terrestrial biomes on the planet use these elements in their life process. They also leave these elements behind in their remains.

Air

The atmosphere contains the gases that surround the terrestrial and maritime biomes within the biosphere. In the atmosphere the main elements are hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and carbon. Oxygen is the most prominent element and allows for the organic life, such as humanity, to exist on the Earth. The atmosphere allows for plant life to take in carbon and regenerate oxygen. The processing of the elements in all biospheres creates a biochemical cycle and has for millions of years.

How They Interact

The basic cellular elements in the biosphere interact by providing the resources necessary to sustain life as we know it on the Earth. When the remains of organ life are returned to the biosphere, they are reduced to their elemental basis and used again. Global biochemical cycles and patterns of biodiversity serve the highest levels of biological organization. The biosphere processes the elements so that processes such as photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation can occur. To understand the concept of climate change or global warming, you need a basic understanding of the changes in the physics and chemistry of the Earth’s systems.

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