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 |

    The first of two stepwise increases in atmospheric oxygen occurred at the end of the Archaean eon. Analyses of sulfur and iron isotopes in pyrite reveal a near-shore environment that hosted locally oxygenated conditions in the Mesoarchaean era.

    • Maya L. Gomes
  • News and Views |

    Photosynthesis is the foundation for almost all known life, but quantifying it at scales above a single plant is difficult. A new satellite illuminates plants’ molecular machinery at much-improved spatial resolution, taking us one step closer to combined ‘inside–outside’ insights into large-scale photosynthesis.

    • Timothy W. Hilton
  • News and Views |

    The composition of the oceans is altered by hydrothermal circulation. These chemical factories sustain microbial life, which in turn alters the chemistry of the fluids that enter the ocean. A decade of research details this complex interchange.

    • Susan Q. Lang
    Nature Geoscience 11, 10–12
  • News and Views |

    The elemental ratios of marine phytoplankton and organic matter vary widely across ocean biomes, according to a catalogue of biogeochemical data, suggesting that climate change may have complex effects on the ocean’s elemental cycles.

    • Tim DeVries
    Nature Geoscience 11, 15–16
  • News and Views |

    Tectonic controls on atmospheric oxygenation are frequently invoked — but whether geochemical records support these ties is an unsettled question.

    • Noah Planavsky