Encyclopedia of Metagenomics

Living Edition
| Editors: Karen E. Nelson

Microbial Genomes That Drive Earth’s Biogeochemical Cycles

  • Paul Falkowski
  • Benjamin I. Jelen
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6418-1_800-3



Biogeochemical cycle: the combined movement, by biology and geology, of chemical elements between Earth’s biosphere and its abiotic reservoirs. Especially important are those involving the main building blocks of life: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur.


A network of biotic and abiotic mechanisms maintains global elemental cycling, also called biogeochemistry. An important step in understanding global elemental cycling is determining the role of organisms and their communities in these processes. At the interaction of the living and nonliving world, life is powered by coupling its endergonic reactions to favorable electron-transfer reactions, changing the environment in the process.

The present network of Earth’s electron donors, acceptors, and electron-transfer pathways uses mainly solar energy to support life and to continue cycling of its most basic building blocks, H, C,...


Orthologous Group Metagenomic Analysis Elemental Cycling Rare Biosphere Great Oxidation Event 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Geological Sciences & Marine & Coastal SciencesInstitute of Marine & Coastal Sciences, Rutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Biophysics and Molecular Ecology LaboratoryInstitute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA