Title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Earth System (Using the Silicon Cycle as an Example)
Silicon is an essential nutrient, both on land and in the oceans. The biological fixation of silicon (Si) under the form of structural elements composed of amorphous biogenic silica initiates the biological cycle of Si, and links it to those of carbon and other bioactive elements. Because the release of dissolved silicate by weathering of crustal rocks is a slow process, biosiliceous organisms are strongly dependent on the efficient recycling of biogenic silica in the environment. In this presentation, I will use the global cycle of Si to exemplify the close linkages between abiotic and biotic processes that control the functioning of the earth system.