Cycles of Nature interactive notebook notes

1. abiotic = nonliving biotic = living 

There is a continuous flow of matter in ecosystems through repeating chains of events 

Ecosystems - all living & nonliving things interacting in the environment. 

elements: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen 
Compounds: Water (H2O), Carbon Dioxide (CO2) 

2.  The water cycle is the continuous movement of water through ecosystems. 

Water Cycle Processes: Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation, Respiration,
 & Transpiration. (also runoff) 


  • water vapor is a gas
  • Evaporation is powered by the Sun's energy. Liquid to gas is evaporation. 
  • Animals release water through respiration
  • Plants release water through transpiration
  • Transpiration helps plants regulate the amount of water in their systems


  • When water vapor cools it turns into tiny drops of liquid water
  • Condensation is gas to liquid
  • Condensation forms clouds when water goes into atmosphere and collects on dust particles


  • Clouds heavy with water = precipitation
  • precipitation=rain, snow, sleet, or hail


  • Carbon is an element necessary for life on Earth.
  • Producers take in CO2 & convert it into other carbon containing molecules such as sugars


  • 1st level consumers eat producers, break down plant sugars for energy, carbon is released as a waste product of respiration
  • 2nd and 3rd level consumers eat primary consumers & break down that carbon.
  • Decomposers also put carbon into air & soil by breaking down dead organisms


  • Carbon cycle happens in water ecosystems in the same ways as on land.
  • Carbon is found dissolved in water.


  • Carbon is found deep in the ground due to decayed remains of organisms that died millions of years ago, creating fossil fuels.
  • Combustion returns carbon to the atmosphere


  • Nitrogen Cycle-continuous cycle in ecosystems
  • 4/5 of air is nitrogen, but organisms can’t use it unless it is fixed-Meaning it is chemically bonded to other kinds of atoms



  • High energy natural events such as lightening, forest fires & lava produce nitrogen compounds.
  • Compounds fall to earth when it rains, goes into soil & plants take it in through roots.


  • In the soil-nitrogen fixing bacteria attach themselves to certain plant roots (beans, peas, & clover).Most of the nitrogen organisms use enters food chains in this way



  • Consumers depend on producers for their nitrogen.The nitrogen travels through food chains.



  • Decomposers return nitrogen to the soil to be used by plants.
  • Some decomposing bacteria break down nitrogen compounds into nitrogen gas and release it into the atmosphere