Biogeochemistry

Definition

Biogeochemistry is the study of how chemical elements flow through living systems and their physical environments. It investigates the factors that influence cycles of key elements such as carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous.

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Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Trace elements are enriched in plants by natural processes, human activities or both. An analysis of mercury in Arctic tundra vegetation offers fresh insight into the uptake of trace metals from the atmosphere by plants. See Letter p.201

    • William Shotyk
    Nature 547, 167–168
  • News and Views |

    Warm conditions in the Arctic Ocean have been linked to cold mid-latitude winters. Observations and simulations suggest that warm Arctic anomalies lead to a dip in CO2 uptake capacity in North American ecosystems and to low crop productivity.

    • Ana Bastos
  • News and Views |

    Ambitious greenhouse–gas emissions cuts are needed to limit the global mean annual temperature increase to 1.5 °C above preindustrial levels. A study now finds that the land sink for CO2 appears much smaller than is currently factored into climate models, suggesting that emissions cuts may need to be even more ambitious than currently estimated.

    • Mark A. Bradford
  • News and Views |

    Permafrost soils represent a massive pool of organic carbon that could be released to the atmosphere due to future climate change. A study now shows that previously frozen soil carbon contained in peatlands may make a relatively modest contribution to future methane emissions following permafrost thaw.

    • Scott D. Bridgham
  • News and Views |

    Phosphorus loading can cause eutrophication of lakes. Analyses of lake chemistry in China reveal that policies have led to lower phosphorus levels overall, but increasing trends in some lakes suggest that expanded policies may be needed.

    • Jessica Corman
    Nature Geoscience 10, 469–470