Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer).
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.
Oxidized sulfur, formed in photochemical reactions in an anoxic atmosphere, fuelled microbial sulfate reduction in Mesoarchaean oxygenated near-shore seas, according to sulfur and iron isotopes in pyrite.
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.
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.
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.
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.