Along with water,carbon, and nitrogen, phosphorus is part of a biogeochemical cycle.
Scientists have named the back and forth movement from a living organism to an abiotic factor and back as a biogeochemical factor. Although phosphorus is not found in the atmosphere, it still plays a very important role in plants and animals on Earth.
Phosphorus is very important for the production of ATP, it forms the backbone of DNA, and makes up the cell membrane.
Phosphorus is found in rocks. Weathering along with rain breaks down the phosphorus in rocks and it travels to the soil.
Once in the soil, plants and other producers are able to absorb the phosphorus. Some of it also makes its way to the ocean and freshwater.
Animals then eat the plants and the phosphorus moves into the animals. Inside animals, the inorganic phosphorus is converted to organic phosphorus.
Animals excrete waste and decomposers are able to use the phosphorus in the waste material.
When the plants and animals die the bacteria may convert the organic phosphorus into inorganic phosphorus in a process called mineralization.
Some of the phosphorus in the soil gets washed into the ocean where a similar process takes place- plants absorb the phosphorus, animals eat, and decomposers absorb the phosphorus.
Some of the phosphorus gets buried in settlements which over time becomes rocks and the cycle continues.