Breaking Boundaries - Nitrogen and phosphorus flows

  • Get the know what the role of nitrogen and phosphorus are in nature 
  • Find out what the tipping points are for this boundary 
  • Learn about the consequences of human-made nitrogen and phosphorus 

The cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus have been radically changed by humans, primarily as a result of industrial and agricultural processes. A substantial amount of the applied nitrogen and phosphorus makes its way to the ocean, where it can push aquatic and marine ecosystems past their own ecological limits. A regional example is the reduction in shrimp catch in the ‘dead zone’ of the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the fertilizer transported via rivers from the US. Similar to this, plants only absorb a small portion of the phosphorus fertilizers used in food production systems, and a large portion of the phosphorus mobilized by people ends up in aquatic systems. As bacteria eat the blooms of algae that expand in response to the high nutrient supply, these may become oxygen-starved. 

Breaking Boundaries

During the academic year 2022-2023, the New Energy Academy will elaborate on the nine planetary boundaries. Inspired by the documentary ‘Breaking Boundaries’ from Sir David Attenborough and Johan Rockström, the New Energy Academy brings you more insights about sustainability and shows you what is needed to become a sustainable and nature-inclusive society. 

Image: J. Lokrantz/Azote based on Steffen et al. 2015.

  • Thu 1 December
  • 15:00 - 16:00 (CET)
  • Online