The evolution of biogeochemistry: revisited

TitleThe evolution of biogeochemistry: revisited
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsBianchi, TS
Type of ArticleJournal Article
KeywordsBiogeochemistry, Earth science, Ecology, Evolution geochemistry, Global change

The evolution of biogeochemistry, retraces the important historical steps in part, covered by Gorham (Biogeochemistry 13:199–239, 1991) in the 18–19th centuries—with new emergent linkages and trends in 20–21st centuries. In the post-phlogiston period, key synthetic connections are made between weathering, atmospheric chemistry, carbon cycling, and climate change. Early work in the 19th century, focused on weathering and the importance of organisms in the exchange of carbon dioxide between the rocks and the atmosphere, provided foundations for new analytical approaches. The role microbes in connecting abiotic and biotic processes begins to emerge, based largely on the existing knowledge of stoichiometry in agricultural soils and plants. This in part, leads to the founding of ecology and its linkages with evolution and biogeography. Verandsky boldly emerges in the 20th century, with his concepts of a biosphere and a noosphere, as concerns begin to arise about human impacts on nature. The development of organic geochemistry as a discipline, allowed for new roots to develop in the evolution of biogeochemistry through linkages between short and long-term carbon cycles. In the 20th century, a new interesting stoichiometry emerges in biogeochemistry—as related to the Green Revolution, human population growth, and eutrophication problems. The advent of long-term and large-scale experiments help to constrain the complexity of non-linearity and regional differences in fluxes and rates in biogeochemical work. A new age begins in the 21st century whereby molecular approaches (e.g. omics) combined with large-scale satellite, monitoring, survey, observatory approaches are combined in the development of Earth System models. These new connections with ecological/evolutionary genetics are one of the more dramatic and important aspects of biogeochemistry in modern times.


All arrays