Biogeochemical Cycles of Race Rocks

From the file Structure and Function of Ecosystems, we come now to that component which represents part of the Functional Aspects, the Material or Biogeochemical Cycles. In this file we will refer you to some of the cycles which are operating in ecosystems, but there are others of course, wherever minerals or ions that become part of the nutrients for plants are taken up by the plants and thus passed on through the other trophic levels or levels of nourishment.
Normally, most texts and many websites have diagrams of the cycles. ( just Google the cycle name) The approach of presenting a completed diagram is rather boring, as it is more interesting to just look around yourself in the ecosystem in which you are living and using other diagrams as models you will easily be able to build up the cycle using local examples yourself.
OBJECTIVES: After doing this assignment students will be able to:a) Construct digital image biogeochemical cycles using images of local examples.
b) Explain how biogeochemical cycles are impacted by anthropogenic activities.
c) Discuss your own responsibilities in terms of biogeochemical cycles.
d) Evaluate how you can help in dealing with the problem of sustainability of Materials cycles.
PROCEDURE:1. To get you started, thumb-print sized photographs taken from Race Rocks have been grouped in no particular order under each of the cycle headings below. They are linked to the location of a larger version of the image on the website. Using help from any other resources portraying cycles, drag and drop the photograph to a desktop folder and then transfer the image or the part of the image to make a montage in a new blank image of a photo editing software, such as Graphics converter or Photoshop.

2. Make your pictures in the “cycle” represent the flow of the material in question. Add arrows and words of explanation as needed.

3. Note some of the pictures are also hyperlinked to where they appear on the website, so this gives you a way of connecting with other resources of

4. As an added resource, you may be able to go on line and capture images directly from the cameras to help illustrate your diagram.
5. Present two of the image diagrams for your lab report.
6. Now that you have prepared a model of a material cycle from this resource of images, design a third cycle from images or materials for which you find direct evidence in your own environment.
7. It is suggested that each class should choose a representative example of a cycle and submit it as an entry for a sighting report.
8.Extension material: Included below are several links to outside sources about the anthropogenic effects on biogeochemical cycles. You may find additional such links by using the word anthropogenic in a Google Image Search
9. Extension material: Sustainable Materials Cycles:
This reference gives an opportunity to investigate ideas about how humans can be involved responsibly in sustainable cycles. It deals with the issue that human activities are seriously affecting the materials cycles of the earth. What are examples of this and how can you personally do something about this?
Carbon Cycle
cup coral
Cup coral
dead mussel and algae
Mussel shells made of Calcium Carbonate.
Diesel fuel storage tank
external link anthropogenic co2External link:
Anthropogenic Carbon
Macro Algae
Dead kelp drift on the shore.
tide pool
Photosynthesis in a tide pool
tiger rockfish Living Kelp ( Nereocystis)
Live bull kelp
External link:
Anthropogenic Methane
dead seal
Dead sea leaten by eagles and gulls.
Diatoms, phytoplankton
fescue grass
Native grasses
smoke stacks
Smoke stacks (pulp mill) across the Strait in Port Angeles


Nitrogen Cycle
eagle feces air- 80% nitrogen lightning
External Link: Anthropogenic Nitrous
Beach Pea, a legume
Beach pea–Legume
elephant seal stained soil
Elephant seal soil– urine.
elephant seal feces
Elephant seal feces
fish pellet
Fish bones
phorous Cycle
goose goose feces
Goose droppings
phosphorous cycle
External link: Anthropogenic Phosphorous
Lichen on rock
Fish bone
Bird bone
Calcium Cycle
nest and shells
Oystercatcher nest and shells
 cable concrete
bird carcass
Bird Skeleton
coraline algae
Living coraline algae
mussels chiton--calcium in shell plateschiton with calcareous shell plates water calcium-rich dead coraline algae
Dead coraline algae
Water… ...Cycle…
gull drinking from freshwater pool
sunlight and clouds
Solar energy
fescue grass frost
Frost on window
Race Rocks Islands rain
Snow at Race Rocks fresh water storage tank Fog shrouding the tower Black Oystercatcher bath
Oystercatcher bathing
Sulphur Cycle
sulphur-bearing macroalgae,(bull kelp)
See this S cycle reference:
Diesel fuel usd as a backup on the island smoke stacks
Smoke stacks (pulp mill) across the Strait in Port Angeles
Anthropogenic sulphur pollution
External Link:
Anthropogenic Sulphur
wolf eel stipe of kelp eaten by sea urchins
Sea urchin graze marks on kelp stype. Kelp contains Sulphur.
sea urchin shell
Sea urchin test (shell).. eaten by sea gull
Mt. Baker
Mt. Baker is an active volcano
Diatoms, phytoplankton