Although biogeochemistry is an integrative discipline, terrestrial and aquatic subdisciplines have developed somewhat independently of each other. Physical and biological differences between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems explain this history. In both aquatic and terrestrial biogeochemistry, key questions and concepts arise from a focus on nutrient limitation, ecosystem nutrient retention, and controls of nutrient transformations. Current understanding is captured in conceptual models for different ecosystem types, which share some features and diverge in other ways. Distinctiveness of subdisciplines has been appropriate in some respects and has fostered important advances in theory. On the other hand, lack of integration between aquatic and terrestrial biogeochemistry limits our ability to deal with biogeochemical phenomena across large landscapes in which connections between terrestrial and aquatic elements are important. Separation of the two approaches also has not served attempts to scale up or to estimate fluxes from large areas based on plot measurements. Understanding connectivity between the two system types and scaling up biogeochemical information will rely on coupled hydrologic and ecological models, and may be critical for addressing environmental problems associated with locally, regionally, and globally altered biogeochemical cycles.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics