Today I was a testing maniac - a soil chamber testing maniac!!! We spent over 6 hours in the field collecting data. Whew! I was so completely exhausted at the end of the day that I actually was quiet on the drive back to the lab.

    I'm kinda stressed out about doing a good job on placing these caps on.
    That cap has to be placed exactly correctly on each of the soil chambers in order to achieve an accurate reading.

    How It's Done

    So here is the long and short of how I test each soil chamber, actual the short because the actual procedure is 29 steps. So I start the Fast Greenhouse Gas Analyzer machine and flush out the tubing. I take a quick jaunt outside to carefully place the cap on the first soil chamber and let the machine run for 5 minutes. I note the chamber location number on the log sheet and monitor the graph to validate the sample. If the sample is good, I go outside again to remove the cap and let the tubing flush out. Rinse and repeat...26 more times.

    Whew, one down, 26 soil chambers more to go!
    When I see this type of graph, I know I placed the cap on correctly. Notice the steady growth of the line between 120 and 350 seconds.

    I'm running as fast an an arctic lemming.
    I'm running towards science! Actually, I'm running so I can get to the soil chambers quicker which means I get the measurements completed sooner, and because it's fun.

    Scientific Method, Hurray!

    So why are we sampling 27 chambers? Why are we sampling the 27 chambers 3 times a week and continuing the study for 5 weeks? A huge part of scientific research is having enough data to come to an appropriate conclusion. And having enough data means repeating your experiment several times, actually, many, many times. So me popping in and out of the shed and running out to the soil chambers is actually all part of honoring the scientific method and contributing towards good science practices.

    The yellow tubes collect the gas emissions.  The green wires are electrical.
    Yes, Virginia, there are a lot of wires in science.

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