May 01 2011
A Nitrogen Cycle Story
As we approach the final day before the AP exam, have you reviewed the nutrient cycles? Knowledge of these cycles is critical-they tie everything together. In the fall we learned primary reservoirs, key chemical reactions, and anthropogenic impacts. I also had each of you write a creative short-story of a cycle. Here is a good one by JoeY:
Being a nitrogen in a nitrate ion was getting boring, especially as I drifted through the sea. I needed to get as far away from here as possible. One day, as I am minding my own business, a denitrifying bacteria comes up to me and asks, “ Want a little adventure in your life?” I couldn’t say no to a ticket out of here. Suddenly, I am pulled away from my oxygen parts, and I start floating up into the clouds. What a view! The atmosphere was so high up that I could see everything! And I also met many of my fellow nitrogen molecules. I started drifting back down to see land beneath me. Then, as soon as I was close enough to a legume, a nitrogen-fixing bacteria takes me in and fixes me up with some hydrogen ions. But as soon as this happened, a plant sucks me into its roots. I stayed in the plant for a while, but when the plant died, I was decomposed and returned to the soil. When I was in the soil, I went through a similar process and became ammonium. But I met some new bacteria friends that converted me into a nitrite ion. Then, another bacteria transformed me back into just nitrogen, and I floated back into the atmosphere. But my time in the air didn’t last long. I was fixed into ammonium again, but this time, I was in the ocean. Some nitrifying bacteria turned me into a nitrite ion. Then I was immediately turned into a nitrate ion. What an adventure!
So, do you remember the steps of the nitrogen cycle? Do you remember the formulas for these forms of nitrogen? Do you recall all the ways humans alter this cycle?