Friday, October 5, 2007

This abstract really needs to lighten up

I wish all scientific writing was as easy as these little discussions that we have here at Get Your Science On. It would be wonderful if I was allowed send off papers to Science and Nature in the format of a casual conversation amongst friends. I do not, however, believe that Science or Nature would appreciate jokes about poop and masturbation peppered in to serious data analysis. They really don’t know what they’re missing.

My advisor surprised me this week by telling me I “should really” submit an abstract for this conference dealio in early March 2008. Something I’ve learned over the past 2 years is that when an advisor says “ You should really ______”, it means “You have to _______” in advisor-speak. Advisor-speak is a dialect that spans all human languages and is only understood by graduate students. It takes time and patience to understand this dialect and by the time you fully comprehend its subtleties, you’re done with grad school. Anyways, the conference is for the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography – ASLO for short. ASLO is a nice conference for oceanographers because you get to see colleagues from around the nation and check in on what fun and interesting things your buddies are up to. The only catch is that it’s being held in Orlando. ORLANDO, FLORIDA. Blech. My family and I went to Orlando once when I was young and did all the requisite Disneyworld business. I can’t say I remember much about it, but my grown-up opinion of Orlando is not a good one.

My abstract was submitted in time (a whole 4 hours before the cutoff time!), I paid my registration fee, so I guess I’m in it to win it. I thought I’d give you all a sneak peek at what it’s like to write a real scientific abstract. Here you go!


TITLE: Where does high Si originate in Cascadia Basin?

Deep waters in Cascadia Basin have silicic acid concentrations that may exceed 200 uM and show progressive enrichment northward, from the 180 uM in water entering at the southern end. The two possible sources of silicic acid in the deep ocean are (1) dissolution of biogenic opal in seafloor sediments and (2) hydrothermal seeps. These sources have different germanium to silica ratios and δ30Si values. Ge/Si ~ 0.7 umol/mole and δ30Si > +0.9‰ for biogenic sources. Hydrothermal sources have Ge/Si of 11-35 umol/mole and δ30Si ~ - 0.3‰. Core incubations determined the average silicic acid flux from seafloor sediments is 0.81 ± 0.05 umol m-2 day-1 and benthic flux is characterized by a mean Ge/Si of 0.6 – 0.7 umol/mole. The observed values in deep waters (>2500m) indicated inputs with Ge:Si ratios of 0.7 umol/mole and δ30Si of +1.4‰ (similar to that measured for sedimentary diatoms and more enriched than other deep Pacific and hydrothermal waters). These results indicate that opal dissolution must be the dominant source of silicic acid added to Cascadia Basin.


Droll, huh? Nary a fart joke to be had.

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