The realities of carbon measurement

…continued from the previous post.

On the Whispering Winds farm hosting us to determine the soil carbon profile under bamboo, laying the grid and prepping the sample bags was the easy part.  Two fearless graduate students (above), some hired muscle from a neighboring farm, and my dearly devoted husband spent the following two days slugging 24 1-m soil cores from the volcanic soil.  As always, nothing goes as planned and a broken corer meant most of a day spent searching for a machinist in Hana to repair it while simultaneously seeking acceptable food for an 8 year old boycotting the local vegan fare.  Yes, science is a family affair for us, which adds extra dimensionality to the career activities of dual-academic couples (but, that is for a different post).

We may have sampled fewer profiles and sometimes to a more shallow depth than desired. And, it sure would have been nice to have been on that outbound flight (I apologize again, Mokulele Airlines, you all are the best for dealing with us) rather than drive the Hana Highway at top speed (ha!) to make the connecting flight in Kahului.  But, we made it back to Oahu where I could start separating each sample into roots, rocks, and soil.  The soil is destined for carbon measurements needed to create the desired 3-D soil carbon profile.  After several days: my nostalgia for lab work has worn off, I’m only 2/3’s done as the semester begins, and now a threatening hurricane is upon us.

To be continued…

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