Today was a great first day, overall! Calling it a first day is a bit of a stretch, though, since I unknowingly started on this project back in September when I helped Jeremy and Dan (my mentors for the project) collect samples from some paleosols, or fossilized soils, in Wyoming while I was on my Sophomore College trip. I also helped them prepare the samples to be analyzed back in January, before I knew I would be spending the summer working on this project as well. It’s nice to see that the work I put in earlier has paid off, without even knowing at the time that I would continue this project! Plus, there’s no more boring bench work to do.
I spent most of today compiling published paleosol δ13C datasets from existing literature. Our hope is that we will be able to perform calculations of soil respiration using this previously published data, as well as our own samples, so that we have as much information to work with as possible. We need to have the profiles from each specific locality saved in separate files so that we can manipulate them later using scripts that we will write in R. It was a bit tedious, but it will be nice when we finally have a nice, large dataset that we can use to compliment our own sampling. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes!