Encyclopedia of Geochemistry

2018 Edition
| Editors: William M. White


  • Hilairy Ellen HartnettEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-39312-4_169


Biogeochemistry is the scientific discipline that explores the physical, chemical, biological, and geological processes that control the composition of and changes to Earth’s surface environments.


A fundamental premise within biogeochemistry is that the influence of life, in particular microbial life, is so pervasive that Earth’s surface geochemistry cannot be understood without considering the biological components and processes (Schlesinger and Bernhardt 2013). Indeed, no surface environment on Earth has been demonstrated to be uninhabitable. The key biogeochemical processes involve elements that are necessary for or are affected by metabolism – especially C, H, N, O, S, but also many other major and trace elements. Biogeochemistry addresses both biotic and abiotic reactions and involves both organic and inorganic species. The science of biogeochemistry spans the marine, aquatic, terrestrial, and atmospheric sciences, it operates over a wide range of temporal...

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth and Space Exploration and School of Molecular SciencesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA