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Introduction to the Carbon Cycle

This carbon dioxide, along with water, is then used by a plant in photosynthesis to make glucose.

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Modeling the Long-Term Carbon Cycle

And yet if we don't make some attempt to describe thisprocess in the form of a global model, our understanding of thedynamics of the global carbon cycle will languish in the earlystages.

Through respiration, plants (andanimals) release water and carbon dioxide.

While photosynthesis is performed by most plants which can prepare their own food, most animals fulfill their energy requirements through cellular respiration.

Photosynthesis is the process by which plant cells convert light energy from the sun into chemical energy, so as to create energy-rich carbohydrate molecules like glucose.

Cycle of Photosynthesis and Respiration - VTAide

Carbon is critical to sustain a huge range of Earth’s functions. Not only is it present in all living beings, it is a major component of a number of minerals (e.g. graphite and diamond). This means that it is abundant across the world, in: the atmosphere (air); biosphere (living and dead organism organisms); hydrosphere (oceans, rivers, and lakes); and lithosphere (soil and rocks). These act as storage areas of ‘reservoirs’ of carbon, either in the short-term (a few minutes) or long-term (millions of years). As the Earth is such a dynamic environment, processes such as erosion, evaporation, photosynthesis, respiration, and decomposition constantly move carbon between these reservoirs. Carbon enters, is stored, and leaves the different spheres of the Earth through different methods, and in different quantities:

The rising human population is adding to atmospheric carbon dioxide in other ways, too. When land is cleared for timber and farms, there are fewer trees to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by photosynthesis. If the fallen trees are burned or left to rot, additional carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. This is particularly important when forests are cleared to make way for farms. Not only are there then fewer trees to absorb carbon dioxide, but the burning of the trees releases carbon dioxide.

This tutorial introduces the carbon cycle

Diagram of the global carbon cycle. Boxes show the approximate size of carbon stores (in gigatons), arrows show the most common carbon fluxes in gigatons per year. Red numbers display the flux increase due to human impact.

The carbon cycle is a natural process, and has been ongoing throughout Earth’s history. Left unperturbed (by natural or human processes) it maintains a stable concentration in the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere (see the table above). As the reservoirs are linked (either directly or indirectly), a change in any of the carbon reservoirs causes changes in the others. Actions by humans have resulted in the removal of carbon from carbon sinks (such as the oil and coal deposits mentioned above), directly adding it to the atmosphere. This has been most notable since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th Century.

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  • Carbon Cycle, Cellular Respiration & Photosynthesis - …

    These molecules are used as the energy source to carry out the chemical changes in the next stage of photosynthesis.

  • Carbon Cycling Through Photosynthesis and Respiration

    Cellular respiration uses glucose molecules and oxygen to produce ATP molecules and carbon dioxide as the by-product.

  • This lab works great when teaching about the carbon cycle as well

    Modeling the Carbon Cycle

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Carbon Cycle: Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration - …

These processes form a carbon cycle in which the proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere remains about the same. The animation should help you to understand how the cycle works. Note that you do not need to know about decomposition and fossilisation.

Carbon Cycle- Photosynthesis & Cellular Respiration

The plant uses the stored chemical energy of ATP to make glucose from carbon dioxide. The plant then uses the glucose to make even larger compounds of cellulose and starch, which store energy.

Oxygen Cycle | Cellular Respiration | Carbon Dioxide

Because of the cyclical nature of the carbon cycle, the impacts humans cause can lead to a number of amplifications and feedbacks. Increasing atmospheric CO2 and CH4 (along with other greenhouse gases) causes higher global air temperatures which in turn increases decomposition in soil, thereby releasing more CO2 to the atmosphere. Increases in global temperature also affect ocean temperatures, modifying oceanic ecosystems and having the potential to disrupt the oceanic carbon cycle, limiting the ocean’s ability to absorb and store carbon.

Carbon Cycle/Photosynthesis/Cellular Respiration - Orcas

Green plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by photosynthesis. Living organisms - including all plants and animals - release energy from their food using respiration. Respiration and combustion - burning - both release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

What role does cellular respiration play in the carbon cycle?

Respiration consists of a complicated series of chemical reactions. In the first stage, glucose is oxidized, and the chemical potential energy of its bonds is transferred to the chemical potential bonds of an ATP molecule. The ATP molecule can then be transported throughout the cell where its stored energy is used to complete various tasks within the cell. This process releases carbon dioxide gas and water.

Carbon Cycle Lab- Photosynthesis and Respiration

Respiration occurs in your cells and is fueled by the oxygen you inhale. The carbon dioxide gas you exhale is the result of a completed cycle of cellular respiration.

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