EAG Early Career Ambassador at the 2015 AGU Fall Meeting (San Francisco).

Thanks to the EAG’s early career ambassador program I was fortunate to be able to attend the recent American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco. The AGU Fall meeting is one of the largest multidisciplinary earth science meetings, where around 24,000 delegates congregate to network and discuss the latest developments in earth and planetary sciences (from astrobiology and biogeochemistry to hydrology, petrology and planetary motions). Whilst at the conference, I presented a poster titles Benthic biofilm structure controls the deposition-resuspension dynamics of fine clay particles (an electronic copy of the poster is available here) and had the great pleasure to meet with a number of scientists from across the fields of biogeochemistry, geomicrobiology and hydrology.


The AGU meeting is huge, and although this wasn’t my first time at the event there is something a little overwhelming rising up the escalator at Powell Street station amongst the throng of geoscientists resplendent in their name badges and poster tubes. The Moscone centre is a huge sprawling site, featuring a sedate environment in Moscone West (where oral session are held) and the sprawling, heaving hubbub of Moscone South’s poster hall. The poster sessions really are what make AGU special, and I have yet to attend a more lively and friendly conference. It really is an ideal place to meet with colleagues (old and new) and find out about the latest developments. One particular highlight, for me as a biogeochemist, was this poster summarizing a unique and elegant method of characterizing soil and sediment organic matter. Given my own interests in understanding how environmental change alters carbon and nitrogen cycling pathways I can see real merit in this method. My journey to the conference may not have been straightforward (leaving me stuck in New York for 9 hours), but I battled through the jet-lag to make the most of the limited time I had in San Francisco, including a trip to buy Ghirardelli’s, who says the American’s can’t make chocolate) and some networking at Biogeoscience and Early Careers sectional luncheons. I also acted as a judge for the Outstanding Student Presentation Award for a second time, and was once again amazed at the enthusiasm and quality of work emitting from the many postgraduate and (even) undergraduate students attending the meeting. Judging from what I saw, the future of geoscience is in very safe hands.

About the author

Dr Billy Hunter is currently a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Research Fellow at the Queen’s University of Belfast (Northern Ireland) where he studies the effects of biodiversity loss on sediment geochemistry. From 2012-2014 Billy was a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow at the University of Vienna’s Department of Limnology and Bio-Oceanography investigating the biogeochemistry of organo-mineral particles in fluvial systems.


Billy is currently experimenting with crowdfunding as a means to fund small scientific projects, to support his project or find out more please visit this link.

Billy with his poster.