|MadSci Network: Environment & Ecology|
Lisa, 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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