I finished my PhD!

This dissertation is in draft form


I’m providing my written dissertation and presentation slides as I submitted them to my committee. Obviously there are many edits. Nonetheless, I figured providing the deep thinking I’ve done so far is more helpful than waiting another 3-6 months until it’s finally published. As someone passionate about SciComm I wanted this to be available sooner rather than later.

Post defense notes

I smashed a lot of content into 44 minutes of presentation time, and of course I missed a few things! First, I should have ended my NEON discussion with the caveat that because I only looked at plant-derived organic matter, maybe the microbial world has something to offer I can’t examine with my soil chemistry method. As always, more research needs to be done. Second, as reiterated in my closed door session from my committee, I should have said/written the more cumbersome “lignin contributions to the soil organic carbon pool” instead of “lignin content”. The former more accurately reflects what I measured, the latter is pretty ambiguous. Just another lesson learned in how SciComm shorthand conflicts with the need for scientists to be necessarily precise in our language.

Finally, managing soils as a natural climate solution for carbon credit schemes is a technically complex problem, but it’s not the only problem worth grappling with! In the closed door session my committee noted how the release of the October Biogeochemistry special issue is dedicated to bringing reality closer to what we know about soil science (see Is the transactional carbon credit tail wagging the virtuous soil organic matter dog?). If you follow me on twitter, you know I’ve been vocal about how awesome soils are, but also that trying to quantify changes in soil carbon for carbon offsets is extremely challenging to do, especially at scale. Nonetheless, if we’re serious about soil carbon credit schemes ‘sequestering’ our excess emissions, I would argue the more difficult issue is predicting how people will treat soil for the long-term. I’m a soil scientist who (especially since 2020) has read more social science literature than I’m willing to admit, and understanding how people will behave in the future is infinitely more complicated than predicting soil.

Adrian C. Gallo
Adrian C. Gallo
Graduate Research Assistant,
Instructor, He/Him

I’m trained as a terrestrial carbon biogeochemist (aka I know a lot about dirt). As a future career I’m currently exploring science communication and climate change policy through an environmental justice framework. When not science-ing you can find me running, mountain biking, or playing soccer.