Environmental Science Basics, Air, Biosphere


Biogeochemical Cycles


So let's take a minute and recap. You know that plants carry out photosynthesis to create sugar, and that all organisms use sugar to fuel cellular biochemical reactions through the process of cellular respiration. Not all of the sugar created by the plant is used up in respiration though, as some is used to create new plant biomass like roots, leaves, stems, wood, and bark. The carbon in plant biomass is only stored temporarily, as it will return to the atmosphere when the biomass decomposes, burns, or is eaten and metabolized. Up to now you have read about the abstract concepts of photosynthesis and cellular respiration and, being the trusting souls that you are, accepted these ideas without ever likely having observed them. In this activity you will complete exercises that will show you both of the processes in action, and in under an hour's time. These exercises will help to make an abstract concept more concrete, and aid you in understanding the role of plants and other organisms in the cycling of carbon.