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2023 | Book

Biogeochemistry and the Environment

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About this book

Biogeochemistry may be defined as the science that combines biological and chemical perspectives for the examination of the Earth’s surface, including the relations between the biosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere. Biogeochemistry is a comparatively recently developed science, that incorporates scientific knowledge and findings, research methodologies, and models linking the biological, chemical, and earth sciences. Therefore, while it is a definitive science with a strong theoretical core, it is also dynamically and broadly interlinked with other sciences. This book examines the complex science of biogeochemistry from a novel perspective, examining its comparatively recent development, while also emphasizing its interlinked relationship with the earth sciences (including the complementary science of geochemistry), the geographical sciences (biogeography, oceanography, geomatics, earth systems science), the biological sciences (ecology, wildlife studies, biological aspects of environmental sciences) and the chemical sciences (including environmental chemistry and pollution). The book covers cutting-edge topics on the science of biogeochemistry, examining its development, structure, interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and transdisciplinary relations, and the future of the current complex knowledge systems, especially in the context of technological, developments, and the computer and data fields.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter
Chapter 1. Biogeochemistry and Its Complexity
Abstract
This chapter provides a background to the science of biogeochemistry, examining its history, content, and relationship with other disciplines. This supports the novel approach of this book, which is to examine biogeochemistry from the perspective of its relationship with other disciplines, and thus illustrates its importance in current scientific research in the biological, environmental, and earth sciences. Biogeochemistry is an extremely broad, yet detailed subject, with a multidisciplinary, cross-disciplinary, and interdisciplinary focus. Although it is fundamentally a biological science, it is deeply rooted in the study of chemical elements and compounds and their spatial and temporal movements through global, regional, and local physical spaces. Its name, including the prefixes “geo” and “bio,” implies a concern with the earth sciences (e.g., geography, geology, geophysics, and geochemistry), the life sciences (e.g., biology, biogeography, biochemistry, and biophysics), and pure and environmental chemistry. With the word “chemistry” as the main stem word, biogeochemistry is conceived as a branch or an allied discipline of the chemical sciences. Currently, biogeochemistry has developed into a vast field of study, including studies of biological, chemical, and geological aspects of the environment, their interactions, and the chemical cycling between these spheres. This chapter examines the historical development of biogeochemistry and the chemical cycling of the main chemical elements. Biogeochemistry developed from the basic, earth, and environmental sciences during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and later included topics such as atmospheric chemistry, carbon cycling, climate change and weathering, biological sciences, and links between climate and the solid earth. Chemical elements studied included carbon (C), nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), potassium (K), oxygen (O), iron (Fe), calcium (Ca), selenium (Se), sulfur (S), and mercury (Hg). Each of these elements is examined as a component of compounds that comprise and move through the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. For example, common compounds that contain carbon include diamond, graphite, Carbon-14 (pure), calcium carbonate (CaCO3), and dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2). Compounds containing oxygen include carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), calcium hydroxide (Ca (OH)2, and calcium oxide (CaO), while those with nitrogen include ammonium (NH+4), nitrite (NO−2), nitrate (NO−3), nitrous oxide (N2O), and nitric oxide (NO). In recent decades, biogeochemistry has evolved into a complex discipline beyond the chemical bases of its development, including the broader issues of global chemical cycling, and the interfacial relations between the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere. This breadth is shared with the related sciences. This chapter, therefore, explores the rudiments of these relationships, for the greater detail of the later chapters.
Michael O’Neal Campbell
Chapter 2. Geochemistry as the Core of Biogeochemistry
Abstract
This chapter examines the science of geochemistry, as the core, background discipline of biogeochemistry. Biogeochemistry is based on geochemistry; in that, it is the framework for those aspects of biology that link to the chemical bases of earth materials, which are defined as within the study of geochemistry. Therefore, the justification for this chapter is that a fuller understanding of biogeochemistry requires a study of geochemistry and the possibilities for its linkage with the biological sciences. Geochemistry is the study of the interfaces of geology and chemistry, using the methodology of the chemical sciences to investigate the composition of earth materials and the occurrence and movements of chemical elements and compounds within the earth system. Geochemistry is consequently an extremely wide subject, as it examines all aspects of the chemistry of earth materials. However, few studies have explored the links between geochemistry and the biological sciences, as the basis for biogeochemical studies. This chapter examines the relevant topics of chemistry, the content of geochemistry, and the developments that have forged a closer link with biogeochemistry. The branches of chemistry, namely, analytical, inorganic, organic, physical chemistry, and biochemistry, are examined, as is their relationship with geochemistry. The branches of geochemistry include organic geochemistry, inorganic geochemistry, isotope geochemistry, aqueous geochemistry, cosmochemistry, trace-element geochemistry, igneous rock geochemistry, metamorphic rock geochemistry, photogeochemistry, and low-temperature or environmental geochemistry. The literary evidence indicates that developments in chemistry, biology, geology, and even archaeology and astronomy (the last two linked to isotope geochemistry and cosmochemistry) have benefited geochemistry as a discipline, and in combination, these have contributed to the advancement of biogeochemistry. Variable issues in biogeochemistry are principally the concern of some branches of geochemistry, such as carbon, inorganic and marine chemistry, and organic, inorganic, isotope, and aqueous geochemistry. This examination contributes to knowledge on the interfaces between the biological, chemical, and geological sciences.
Michael O’Neal Campbell
Chapter 3. Earth Systems Science (ESS) and Systems Ecology
Abstract
Earth systems science (ESS) is a science that is strongly linked to biogeochemistry, through its study of the earth systems (lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere) through which the chemical elements and compounds studied by biogeochemistry flow. The two disciplines developed largely separately, but this chapter explores common ground, in terms of origins, developments, and future possibilities. A basic definition of ESS is that it is the application of systems science to the earth’s surface. Systems science and its subsets, systems ecology and earth systems science, provide methodologies that can document, describe, analyze, and understand spatial and networked ecological relations, within the larger, complex disciplines of the environmental sciences. ESS is a recent development, within physical geography and the earth and environmental sciences, with the objective of studying the integrated relations, physical, energy, and chemical, to link the contributions of the increasingly polarized and segmented earth and environmental sciences. This science is concerned with, but not limited to, the relations between the global to local contexts of the biosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere. The developmental trend of ESS is particularly relevant to the field of biogeochemistry, which itself is also a multidisciplinary field seeking to override the generally artificial disciplinary boundaries between biological, chemical, and physical sciences to derive answers for complex environmental questions. This chapter examines the basics of ESS and then looks at the approach and methodologies of systems ecology and the links to biogeochemistry, using recent literature sources on the definition, application, and status of ESS and related sciences. It is argued that ESS must battle on two fronts: the question for broader knowledge to solve the increasingly complex, multidisciplinary environmental issues, and the requirement for deep specialization to understand the issues in the first place, some at microscopic level. Institutional barriers also creep in, as the topics of ESS may be scattered across departments, sometimes different from those of biogeochemistry. The linking between ESS and biogeochemistry must also be measured against the changes in the environmental focus of the basic sciences (chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology) and the fortunes of the environmentally applied progeny of these disciplines (geochemistry, environmental chemistry, biochemical and chemical engineering, biochemistry, geophysics, environmental and atmospheric physics, civil, geological, and environmental engineering, oceanography, statistics, etc.). The understanding of these complex issues contributes to the development of biogeochemical studies.
Michael O’Neal Campbell
Chapter 4. Biogeochemistry, Biogeography, and Geomatics
Abstract
Biogeochemistry and biogeography are both vital, expanding, interconnected, hybrid, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary branches of the life, earth, and conservation sciences, with spatially and temporally oriented methodologies, and increasing relevance for current global realities and human survival. Both discipline clusters seek spatial relevance, from local to global scales, interconnectedness, linking multiple ecosystems, and use increasingly sophisticated research methodologies. Both may also use the tools of geomatics including geodesy, radio detection and ranging (radar), and light detection and ranging (LiDAR), to uncover more exact, reliable, and definitive information from researched data. For biogeochemistry, the main use for such techniques is the identification and measurement of the relevant parameters (organisms, habitat variables, earth structures that facilitate and contain chemical flows and reservoirs). For biogeography, spatial distributions assume prominence, including areal extents and differentiation. However, few studies have sought to document the increasingly complex relationship between these research clusters. This chapter uses a literature-based research methodology to uncover these issues, especially biogeography, as biogeochemistry has been defined in the earlier chapters. Selectivity is necessary, as this relationship is as broad as the Earth itself. Case studies are taken from the global scale of biomes and earth systems to the local contexts of ecological change. The role of human action is also explored, in addition to the possibilities of multidirectional change. Research methods within the field of geomatics, as the premier tools for the analysis of spatial ecologies and environmental variables, are also explored. It is argued that these three research clusters, when linked, form the basis of the environmental sciences. This contributes to the development of the environmental sciences and strengthens the status of biogeochemistry as a root science of the study of the Earth.
Michael O’Neal Campbell
Chapter 5. Biogeochemistry and Oceanography
Abstract
The atmosphere and oceanic hydrosphere constitute the largest aspects of the Earth’s surface, creating the coloration that from space led the Earth to be named the “blue planet.” Predominantly air (nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, etc.) and water (hydrogen, oxygen), both spheres are essential for all plant and animal life and form the links between the biological, biochemical, biophysical, geochemical, and geophysical worlds, and hence are the main components of biogeochemistry. The studied relationship between biogeochemistry, biogeography, and atmospheric and oceanic sciences is still evolving, and debates prevail concerning this complex relationship at the global level. This chapter examines the relations between the biogeochemistry of oceanic ecosystems and marine life and those parts of the atmosphere just above the oceans. The biogeography of the oceans plays an interacting role with oceanic biogeochemistry, as biogeochemistry enables the existence of marine plant and animal life, which also enable chemical cycling. Case studies are cited from the Earth’s oceans, and the historical background of oceanography and associated sciences is also cited. It is concluded that biogeochemistry, biogeography, and oceanography comprise a growing scientific complex, and the understanding of the clusters of these sciences is important for the assessment of the expanding science of ocean biogeochemistry.
Michael O’Neal Campbell
Chapter 6. Biogeochemistry and Conservation Biology
Abstract
Biogeochemistry, encompassing nearly all the factors for plant and animal ecological, chemical, and physical relations, has a close and even overlapping relation with the conservation sciences. In this relation, both the natural processes and human-constructed systems have severely affected the status of many plant and animal species, including their physiological and ecological dynamics. However, the information on these relations is largely scattered, focusing on the impacts of particular chemicals on particular species, rather than on combined chemical groups on ecosystems, and the possibilities for conservation science and policy. This chapter examines the role of the understanding of biogeochemistry in the development and effective conservation management and policy and how this may inform biogeochemical research. Current research findings indicate a shift in the relevance from global scale chemical flows to smaller scales at the regional, local, and even micro level scenarios. Case studies are taken of the impacts of lead, zinc, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, copper, and selenium, pesticides (including insecticides and rodenticides), veterinary compounds (such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs and polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs), and industrial pollutants such as perfluoroalkyl substances on terrestrial, aquatic, and marine life, and the impacts of ameliorative policy actions. Conservation policies have been evolved to remedy these events, but in many cases, more research is required to remedy the impacts of the chemical changes. Significantly, chemical systems are increasingly studied in conjunction with conservation issues, and these actions have contributed to positive results for conservation efforts, and knowledge of conservation issues.
Michael O’Neal Campbell
Chapter 7. Urban Biogeochemistry and Development: The Biogeochemical Impacts of Linear Infrastructure
Abstract
This chapter describes the role of urban biogeochemistry as a crucial development within the larger science of biogeochemistry, with increasing relevance due to the increasingly important role of urban systems and their support within the global environment. It takes the novel perspective of examining the relations between urban biogeochemistry and the related biological, hydrological, chemical, and geological sciences, especially urban biogeography and urban geochemistry. With urban biogeochemistry comprising a vital, developing subdiscipline of biogeochemistry, and human demographics, urbanization, and infrastructural developments increasingly dominating biological systems, chemical cycling, and reservoirs, new scientific developments are necessary. Linear infrastructure developments, including roads and railways, are cited as the main urban structures, as these are fundamental to the development of residential cities and link such urbanized areas across less developed landscapes. Such developments are changing landscapes through compaction, creation of impermeable and nonporous surfaces, alteration of biogeographical patterns, and geochemical cycling, especially in fragile or intensively used landcover. Issues examined in this chapter include landcover denudation, topographical change and soils and/or water flows, flooding, artificial creation of steeper slopes, pipeline, and other pollution, increased weathering and erosion, landslide denudation, and vulnerability, and the consequences for biogeochemistry, biogeography, and geochemistry, and some requirements from urban infrastructural planning. Key examples are the impacts of urban infrastructural development in fragile, mountain environments, such as that of Joshimath (Garhwal Himalayas), Uttarakhand, India, an area where urban biogeochemical impacts are pronounced, along with earthquakes, climate effects, and biogeographical changes. The findings of this chapter indicate that construction and infrastructure planning must consider environmental issues, including biogeographical and geochemical impacts on the biogeochemical system, for sustainable ecological outcomes. This contributes to the investigation of the biogeochemical bases of linear development projects and urban biogeochemistry in general.
Adil Khan, Indushree Maharana
Chapter 8. The Future Developments in Biogeochemistry
Abstract
The future of biogeochemistry and its relationship with environmental change is largely based on how the discipline and associated sciences react to global events and the disciplinary and methodological developments that occur as a result. It may be hypothesized that future developments in such studies will be dominated by models, some analytical, others predictive and retrospective, considering the increasingly integrated nature of the relevant topics of biogeochemical analyses, technological developments, and the increasingly complex and trending nature of environmental change. Current evidence indicates that biogeochemistry has a key, even indispensable, role in the future of the environmental sciences, including biogeography, oceanography, Earth Systems Science, and even geomatics-based applications, but the strength of the role will depend on the structural organization of the discipline, in terms of its links with other related disciplines, its flexibility in reaction to academic, research, and human–environmental changes, and the deeper understanding of the factors (natural and socioeconomic) that contribute to environmental change. Research methodologies are advancing with technology, especially computer-generated developments such as geomatics, and the understanding of such applications may dominate the future as high-tech methods overtaking the older, less sophisticated research methods of the late twentieth century. This assessment contributes to a critical look at the future of biogeochemical applications.
Michael O’Neal Campbell
9. Correction to: Urban Biogeochemistry and Development: The Biogeochemical Impacts of Linear Infrastructure
Michael O’Neal Campbell
10. Correction to: Biogeochemistry and the Environment
Michael O’Neal Campbell
Backmatter
Metadata
Title
Biogeochemistry and the Environment
Author
Michael O'Neal Campbell
Copyright Year
2023
Electronic ISBN
978-3-031-47017-2
Print ISBN
978-3-031-47016-5
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-47017-2