Living organisms are significant in the recycling of numerous elements contained in an ecosystem. One of the elements is carbon. Carbon is nonmetal, forms over ten million different compounds, found in minerals, oceans, and is the main component of biological compounds. So how do living organisms and their biochemical reactions contribute to the recycling of carbon?
Carbon moves through the ecosystem in a cycle, in which the living organisms take and release different forms of carbon. Most of the time oxygen is attached with molecules containing carbon. Since it is a cycle, it can begin anywhere. Let us start with the atmosphere. The forms of carbon in the atmosphere are methane and carbon dioxide. Plants (living organisms) take in the carbon dioxide and sunlight, undergoing photosynthesis to make sugar molecules (carbon fixation) for the plant’s energy purposes. The plants then release oxygen back into the atmosphere, and animals breathe it in. The soil, plants, and animal’s respiration, releases carbon from the terrestrial biosphere back to the atmosphere. Next in the cycle, animals (living organisms) eat the plants from land or ocean, and the predators eat the animals that ate the plants. As organisms are going through their food chain, the organic carbon is passed from one organism to another. When plants, animals, and waste products decay in the soil, they will eventually form new fossil fuels.
One way humans contribute to the recycling of carbon is burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels, composed of carbon compounds, were formed millions of years ago and are found deep underground. We use it for things like fuel, warmth, and factory machines. Ever since our Industrial Revolution, in which masses of factories were built, all the fossil burning added a great deal of carbon directly back into the atmosphere.
Another way humans released carbon into the atmosphere is deforestation. They...