Nutrient cycles in an ecosystem move the key components organisms need to survive. Nutrients generally enter a system through 2 channels. Either the weathering of abiotic materials that release the nutrients from its previous form or atmospheric inputs such as deposition and fixation. These nutrients are then soluble and can be absorbed by plants and microorganisms. Plants and microorganisms end up as detritus after their life cycles are terminated. Before becoming detritus some of these individuals will be consumed by heterotrophs which also inevitably become detritus. After time is allowed to pass the detritus decomposes and the nutrients mineralize and enter the soluble pool again. During this process, some of the nutrients are lost. The nutrients can become leached into the soil or be released into the atmosphere as a gaseous loss. This process repeats as long as nutrients are present in the active pools. If the nutrients stop cycling the ecosystem could experience catastrophic loss in biodiversity.
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