Biogeodynamics : bridging the gap between surface and deep Earth processes
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Life is sustained by a critical and not insubstantial set of elements, nearly all of which are contained within large rock reservoirs and cycled between Earth's surface and the mantle via subduction zone plate tectonics. Over geologic time scales, plate tectonics plays a critical role in recycling subducted bioactive elements lost to the mantle back to the ocean–biosphere system, via outgassing and volcanism. Biology additionally relies on tectonic processes to supply rock-bound ‘nutrients’ to marine and terrestrial ecosystems via uplift and erosion. Thus, the development of modern-style plate tectonics and the generation of stable continents were key events in the evolution of the biosphere on Earth, and similar tectonic processes could be crucial for the development of habitability on exoplanets. Despite this vital ‘biogeodynamic’ connection, directly testing hypotheses about feedbacks between the deep Earth and the biosphere remains challenging. Here, I discuss potential avenues to bridge the biosphere–geosphere gap, focusing specifically on the global cycling and bioavailability of major nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) over geologic time scales.
Zerkle , A L 2018 , ' Biogeodynamics : bridging the gap between surface and deep Earth processes ' , Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. A, Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences , vol. 376 , no. 2132 . https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2017.0401
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. A, Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2017.0401
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