How does phosphorus move through the biosphere?

The phosphorus cycle is the slowest one of the matter cycles that are described here. Phosphorus is most commonly found in rock formations and ocean sediments as phosphate salts. Phosphate salts that are released from rocks through weathering usually dissolve in soil water and will be absorbed by plants.

Why is the phosphorus cycle important to life?

Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for plants and animals. Phosphorus is a limiting nutrient for aquatic organisms. Phosphorus forms parts of important life-sustaining molecules that are very common in the biosphere. Phosphorus does not enter the atmosphere, remaining mostly on land and in rock and soil minerals.
  • Why phosphorus can be considered a pollutant?

    Nutrient pollution is one of America's most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems, and is caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in the air and water. Too much nitrogen and phosphorus in the water causes algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle.
  • What happens to the phosphorus that erodes from rocks and soil?

    What happens to phosphorus that erodes from rock and soil? Water erodes rock and soil containing phosphorus, which dissolves in the water. The phosphorus joins with the oxygen to form phosphate. How are phosphates incorporated into the organic molecules in aquatic plants and animals?
  • Why water is so important to life?

    Water is the solvent that transports many essential molecules and other particles around the body. These include nutrients and waste products from the body's metabolic processes. Particles such as some ions and molecules need to be able to move around biological organisms.

Updated: 21st November 2019

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