Lessons Learned from My Master’s, Part 3: Writing

When I started my master’s degree I had envisioned 3 experiments, each taking up a chapter. My plan was to write up the results of the first experiment while performing the second and so on until I had the bulk of my thesis written. It seemed easy, but it did not turn out that way! The combination of the traveling required to do some of my analyses, and a rocky start to a few of my first experiments resulted in the axing of my seemingly straightforward writing plan before I could begin. Rather than my nicely timed data flow, I ended up having a massive data set that came in all at once, which left me with lots of writing all piled up at the end of my time as a student.

Although it did not go as planned, I still learned a lot about managing a huge writing task. I figured out some things that kept me writing even when I had no data yet, and also discovered some strategies later on that I wish I had enacted right from the beginning. So without further ado, here are some ways to keep on top of things, even when it doesn’t end up going as planned!

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Manuscript Accepted!

I am pleased to announce that Chapter 2 of my master’s thesis has been accepted for publication in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. It will be published in a special issue dedicated to the application of hydrogen isotopes as environmental recorders sometime soon! The title of the paper is Variable δD Values Among Major Biochemicals in Plants: Implications for Environmental Studies. I will post a link to the special issue once it is available.

Geological/Scientific Drawing

I saw these links posted on Reddit (/r/geology), and wanted to post them here for future reference. Here are some great resources for geological and other science illustration:

Geologic Map Patterns for Canvas (R), Illustrator (R) and Freehand (R) , from Andreas Plesch and the USGS

Integration and Application Network (IAN) symbol library, which contains 2604 science/ecology symbols (vector format), including lots of geologic environments.


Our paper is out now! It is available here (open access until the end of this year).

I also have some e-prints to distribute if you aren’t affiliated with an institution with a subscription to Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies. Just send me an email requesting one.

Our paper provides high-resolution records of the carbon and sulphur isotope signatures from Aptian sediments recovered during Leg 123 of the Ocean Drilling Program, and discusses potential mechanisms that could cause the perturbations that are observed in those signatures.

Here’s the reference:

DeBond, N., Oakes, R.L., Paytan, A. and Wortmann, U.G. (2012). Early Aptian carbon and sulphur isotope signatures at ODP Site 765. Isotopes in Environmental & Health Studies 48(1) 180-194. DOI: 10.1080/10256016.2012.659732

It feels good to share the results of a project with a wider community!

Manuscript accepted!

Exciting news! I’ve been working on a manuscript with my supervisor from undergrad, and it has been accepted for publication! The title is: Early Aptian carbon and sulphur isotope signatures at ODP Site 765, and it will be published in Isotopes in Environmental & Health Studies. It will be my first scientific publication, with hopefully many more to come.