I finished my PhD!
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.
- My defense on YouTube
- My presentation notes and slide deck (with citations/links in the notes section)
- My written dissertation in draft form
- Inspiration Dissemination homepage & podcast archive
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.
- Big Data for Big Problems - The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)
- Lignin and fungal abundance modify manganese effects on soil organic carbon persistence at the continental scale
- Climate Effects on Subsoil Carbon Loss Mediated by Soil Chemistry
- Key predictors of soil organic matter vulnerability to mineralization differ with depth at a continental scale
- Intensive Biomass Harvesting in the Oregon Cascades for Long-Term Soil Productivity (LTSP)