Geology 230

Groundwater/ Surface Water Interaction

California State University, Sacramento

Week 5:

Nitrogen cycling



Upon completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • Discuss the components of the nitrogen cycle.

  • Identify geochemical environments that favor reactions in the nitrogen cycle.

  • Understand rate limiting reactions in the nitrogen cycle.

  • Identify sources and sinks in the nitrogen cycle.


Reading Assignments:

1) Jones and Mulholland:  pp. 197-216


2) Chapelle, F. H., 2001, Nitrogen cycling (chapter 9), in, Ground-Water  Microbiology and Geochemistry, 2nd ed., John Wiley and Sons, New York, pp. 261-270.




3) Wetzel, R. G., 2001, Nitrogen budgets (chaper 6), in, Limnology Lake and River Ecosystems, Academic Press, San Francisco, pp. 227- 237.







Tim's summary of Jones and Mulholland, pp. 197-216:


Nitrogen cycling



Shannon's discussion question (Chappelle chapter):


Why is it important to understand the nitrogen cycle when analyzing groundwater composition? What are some of the limiting factors of the nitrogen cycle within groundwater systems?

Chapelle summary


Jane's discussion question (Wetzel chapter): 


Is nitrogen considered a' non-conservative' substance?  How might nitrogen be considered a limiting factor in an ecosystem and what role do humans play in the cycle?


Wetzel summary