Matt Roby, PhD student in SNRE's Watershed Management and Ecohydrology program, recently contributed a fascinating account of his research to an online series " A Life of Science: A Series by New Scientists." Roby describes his research and his path to the University of Arizona with vivid imagery, transporting us to places along his journey from the cornfields of Iowa to the Chihuauan Desert.
"Despite the unrelenting heat, desert shrubs mine water in the soil and transport it to leaves to be split by sunlight and used by photosynthetic machinery to make sugar from thin air. By extracting carbon dioxide and releasing trails of vapor, growing plants leave fingerprints on the wind that our sensors detect by flashing air with pulses of ultrasonic sound and infrared light ten times each second. The sensors send signals to a computer that translates turbulence into meaning. Chaos into clarity. We are measuring the desert breathe."
As a Carson Scholar, Roby is paired with a faculty mentor and trained in science communication to convey his message effectively. Roby provides a stellar example of engagement with a broad audience through the use of creative writing and imagery. Click here to read the full account and get an on-the-ground perspective of atmospheric research "west of Eden."
Slideshow photo taken by Matt Roby
Matt Roby Portrait credit: Nick Ohde