How is terrestrial biota involved in water cycle?

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gsenviro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The water cycle is a biogeochemical cycle that describes the movement of water through the biotic and abiotic components of our planet. The terrestrial biota is a key component of this process.

Biota includes both the plant and animal life of a region. Water is taken up by the plants through their roots from the soil. A significant fraction of this water is lost through the pores in their leaves. This process is known as transpiration (when combined with evaporation, it is known as evapotranspiration). Thus, a fraction of the water stored in the soil is cycled back to the atmosphere, causing movement of water.

Similarly, animals consume water either by directly drinking it or indirectly intaking it as part of their food. A portion of this water is excreted and a portion is incorporated into their bodies. Animals lose water from their bodies through perspiration and upon their deaths, moisture is lost from their body through decomposition. The water thus lost from animal bodies is released back for further movement in the water cycle.

Animals also contribute to the water cycle through respiration, a process that releases water vapors.

Similarly, plants also contribute to the water cycle by consuming water during the process of photosynthesis.