An Analysis of Global Change

3rd Edition - December 31, 2012

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  • Authors: W.H. Schlesinger, Emily Bernhardt
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123858757

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Biogeochemistry—winner of a 2014 Textbook Excellence Award (Texty) from the Text and Academic Authors Association—considers how the basic chemical conditions of the Earth, from atmosphere to soil to seawater, have been and are being affected by the existence of life. Human activities in particular, from the rapid consumption of resources to the destruction of the rainforests and the expansion of smog-covered cities, are leading to rapid changes in the basic chemistry of the Earth. This expansive text pulls together the numerous fields of study encompassed by biogeochemistry to analyze the increasing demands of the growing human population on limited resources and the resulting changes in the planet's chemical makeup. The book helps students extrapolate small-scale examples to the global level, and also discusses the instrumentation being used by NASA and its role in studies of global change. With extensive cross-referencing of chapters, figures and tables, and an interdisciplinary coverage of the topic at hand, this updated edition provides an excellent framework for courses examining global change and environmental chemistry, and is also a useful self-study guide.

Key Features

  • Winner of a 2014 Texty Award from the Text and Academic Authors Association
  • Calculates and compares the effects of industrial emissions, land clearing, agriculture, and rising population on Earth's chemistry
  • Synthesizes the global cycles of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur, and suggests the best current budgets for atmospheric gases such as ammonia, nitrous oxide, dimethyl sulfide, and carbonyl sulfide
  • Includes an extensive review and up-to-date synthesis of the current literature on the Earth's biogeochemistry


Upper-division undergraduate and graduate students in geochemistry, ecology, earth, and soil sciences, especially those with interest in global change or environmental chemistry.

Table of Contents

  • Dedication



    Part I: Processes and Reactions

    Chapter 1. Introduction

    What is biogeochemistry?

    Understanding the earth as a chemical system

    Scales of endeavor

    Lovelock’s gaia

    Recommended Readings

    Chapter 2. Origins


    Origins of the Elements

    Origin of the solar system and the solid earth

    Origin of the atmosphere and the oceans

    Origin of life

    Evolution of metabolic pathways

    Comparative planetary history: earth, mars, and venus


    Recommended Readings

    Chapter 3. The Atmosphere


    Structure and Circulation

    Atmospheric Composition

    Biogeochemical Reactions in the Troposphere

    Atmospheric Deposition

    Biogeochemical Reactions in the Stratosphere

    Models of the Atmosphere and Global Climate


    Recommended Readings

    Chapter 4. The Lithosphere


    Rock weathering

    Soil chemical reactions

    Soil development

    Weathering rates


    Recommended Readings

    Chapter 5. The Biosphere: The Carbon Cycle of Terrestrial Ecosystems




    Net Primary Production

    Net Ecosystem Production and Eddy-Covariance Studies

    The Fate of Net Primary Production

    Remote Sensing of Primary Production and Biomass

    Global Estimates of Net Primary Production and Biomass

    Net Primary Production and Global Change


    Soil Organic Matter and Global Change


    Recommended Readings

    Chapter 6. The Biosphere: Biogeochemical Cycling on Land


    Biogeochemical cycling in land plants

    Nutrient allocations and cycling in land vegetation

    Biogeochemical cycling in the soil

    Calculating landscape mass balance

    Human impacts on terrestrial biogeochemistry


    Recommended Readings

    Chapter 7. Wetland Ecosystems


    Types of wetlands

    Productivity in wetland ecosystems

    Organic matter storage in wetlands

    Microbial metabolism in saturated sediments

    Anaerobic metabolic pathways

    Wetlands and water quality

    Wetlands and global change


    Recommended Readings

    Chapter 8. Inland Waters





    Human impacts on inland waters


    Recommended Readings

    Chapter 9. The Oceans


    Ocean circulation

    The composition of seawater

    Net primary production

    Sediment diagenesis

    The biological pump: a model of carbon cycling in the ocean

    Nutrient cycling in the ocean

    Biogeochemistry of hydrothermal vent communities

    The marine sulfur cycle

    The sedimentary record of biogeochemistry


    Recommended Readings

    Part II: Global Cycles

    Chapter 10. The Global Water Cycle


    The global water cycle

    Models of the hydrologic cycle

    The history of the water cycle

    The water cycle and climate change


    Recommended Readings

    Chapter 11. The Global Carbon Cycle


    The modern carbon cycle

    Temporal perspectives on the carbon cycle

    Atmospheric methane

    Carbon monoxide

    Synthesis: linking the carbon and oxygen cycles


    Recommended Readings

    Chapter 12. The Global Cycles of Nitrogen and Phosphorus


    The global nitrogen cycle

    Temporal variations in the global nitrogen cycle

    Nitrous oxide

    The global phosphorus cycle

    Linking global biogeochemical cycles


    Recommended Readings

    Chapter 13. The Global Cycles of Sulfur and Mercury


    The global sulfur cycle

    The global mercury cycle


    Recommended Reading

    Chapter 14. Perspectives

    Recommended Reading



Product details

  • No. of pages: 688
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2013
  • Published: December 31, 2012
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123858757

About the Authors

W.H. Schlesinger

Dr. Schlesinger is one of the nation’s leading ecologists and earth scientists and a passionate advocate for translating science for lay audiences. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, he has served as dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke and president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. He lives in Down East Maine and Durham, N.C. and continues to analyze the impacts of humans on the chemistry of our natural environment.

Affiliations and Expertise

Duke University, Durham, NC, USA

Emily Bernhardt

Dr. Bernhardt is James B. Duke Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biology at Duke University. She is a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America and the Society for Freshwater Sciences and currently serves as the chair of Duke's Department of Biology. She lives in Durham, NC where she enjoys introducing Duke students to the wonders of ecology and biogeochemistry each year.

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA

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