MadSci Network: Environment & Ecology

Re: Relationship between Abiotic and biotic factors in the nitrogen cycle?????

Date: Thu Oct 8 10:12:28 1998
Posted By: Karen Culver-Rymsza, Biological Oceanographer
Area of science: Environment & Ecology
ID: 903313292.En


I will give you a place to start thinking by discussing one important 
abiotic factor -- Temperature.  All stages of the nitrogen cycle are 
mediated by enzymes (with the exception of some atmospheric reactions). 
Enzyme activity is directly affected by temperature so that at very low 
temperatures the nitrogen cycle turns slowly.

Other important factors include oxygen availability because, for example, 
nitrogen fixation requires anaerobic conditions.  Also, sunlight can affect 
nitrogen fixation by marine cyanobacteria and the fixation of inorganic 
nitrogen into organic forms by plants.

Look at the steps and you can probably find more places where abiotic 
factors affect the cycle.

K. Culver-Rymsza, PhD
Univ of Rhode Island

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