Nitrogen is a very important gas in the atmosphere, but not all organisms can use it effectively. Certain bacteria ‘fix’ nitrogen, allowing plants to take it in. Animals eat the plants, absorb the nitrogren, and then release it through wastes, at which point bacteria take it up again.
The carbon cycle is the process by which plants take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and convert it into energy through photosynthesis. The resulting sugars and oxygen are used by animals (and plants again) through respiration, and the end products include carbon, which is released back into the atmosphere.
Both processes involve the transfer of energy from one organism to another.
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