El ciclo global del nitrógenoUna visión para el ecólogo terrestre

  1. Laura García-Velázquez
  2. Antonio Gallardo
Ecosistemas: Revista científica y técnica de ecología y medio ambiente

ISSN: 1697-2473

Year of publication: 2017

Issue Title: Alteraciones antropogénicas del ciclo del nitrógeno y sus consecuencias para los ecosistemas

Volume: 26

Issue: 1

Pages: 4-6

Type: Article

DOI: 10.7818/ECOS.2017.26-1.02 DIALNET GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openOpen access editor

More publications in: Ecosistemas: Revista científica y técnica de ecología y medio ambiente


The nitrogen (N) availability in the biosphere, the alteration of the global cycle, and its impact on the ecosystem are given by three key functional characteristics of the N cycle. First, the atmospheric N abundance allows both the biological and industrial fixation through the Haber-Bosch process, doubling the atmospheric N total inputs. Thus, the atmospheric N reservoir is the main source of the N cycle alteration, being the easiness to return to its original compartment the principal difference with the carbon (C) and phosphorus (P) cycles. Second, low concentrations of N in rock and soil minerals determines that in the long-term N limitation is mainly regulated by the biological fixation rate, being also dependent on the soil development and the presence of organic sedimentary rocks. Finally, an essential property of the N cycle in the biosphere is the high mobility of N across ecosystem boundaries through N-fixation, nitrification, denitrification and ammonification processes. All these properties cause that the fixed N molecule have multiples effects along its movement across different ecosystems, leading to acidification, eutrophication, alteration of albedo among other processes, and contributing substantially to climate change.