Movement of element within and between ecosystems where that element notably does not possess a .

is a key component of nucleic acids including ATP. Its ultimate source in environments is either other '' ecosystems or, instead, from phosphate-bearing . Due to the relative of either supply, as is typical under natural circumstances, phosphorus often can be a limiting nutrient in ecosystems.

Phosphate typically is lost from environments via though animals, in particular, are capable of incorporating phosphorus into their bodies and moving that phosphate elsewhere, either as or instead in the course of .

and are two notable carriers of phosphorus, with the former on land their phosphorus-rich and the latter depositing their own bodies far upstream from the . and their defecations can supply phosphorus to found in the vicinity. Phosphorus thus generally finds its way to the sea while both and animals can bring it back onto land.

See also biogeochemical cycles.