Phosphorus - Helpful or Harmful?

By: Cheyenne Lawrence, Rhiannon Jones, & Madison Hartman

How the Phosphorus Cycle Works

Phosphorus comes from rocks, so the cycle starts with rocks being eroded. Then, the rock is now transformed into tiny dust particles that go into the soil. After they are in tiny dust particles, plants use the phosphorus to help build their DNA. Plants cannot grow without DNA, so when the plant grows, a herbivore will eat it and gain energy. After the herbivore eats the pant a carnivore will eat it, transferring the energy to the carnivore. After some time, the carnivore dies, and it is decomposed. Once it is decomposed, the phosphorus is returned to the soil.




If it rains, the water will cause the water that contains phosphorous to runoff into lakes, streams, oceans and rivers. The phosphorous settles at the bottom of the water in sedimental layers that could later cause geological upheaval when the inorganic phosphate reacts.



If more than the normal amount of phosphorus is added, then plants will grow quicker, but it would also mess up the other cycles. The different chemicals need to be balanced. When there is more phosphorus than anything else, it affects the other cycles.




Can new roads affect ecosystems?

Yes.


A human activity that would affect the cycle, could be something like building a road. There is a lot of digging involved, and when the soil is taken out of the ground, so is phosphorus, leaving plants no room to grow, and no phosphorus to help build DNA for the plants. Because the plant cannot form, organisms die.



How does deforestation affect us?

Deforestation affects us by, limiting our oxygen levels, if we keep cutting trees down at large rates, then we will lose more oxygen because plants, trees, etc. are the only things that can give us fresh oxygen. It also takes away our privilege of shade and the beauty of nature.

An arising problem caused by human activity

Animals can no longer get the energy they need, so they start dying off. Soon a species could go extinct. This could mess up several food webs and food chains.


How can you help?

  • Slow down on deforestation.
  • Plant more trees.
  • Having natural wildlife exhibits, to prevent death of animals.
  • Put more flyers out recognizing the issues.
  • Not use as much soil, if we must we should try to reconstruct it as best as possible.