Friday, December 9, 2016

SEN DataThon this Sunday at UC Berkeley

In collaboration with SEAD (Sustainable Environment Actionable Data), the NSF EarthCube-sponsored (Sediment Experimentalist Network (SEN) will be hosting a "DataThon" this Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016, at UC Berkeley to advance the cause of data sharing and reproducibility. A core group of early-career and more senior scientists, we will spend the afternoon uploading our datasets to SEAD 2.0 project spaces and describing our datasets and methods on the SEN Knowledge Base (SEN-KB). Let's make open data a reality!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

More SEN and EarthCube events at AGU 2016

If you are attending the AGU 2016 Fall Meeting, here are some events in addition to the SEN-related presentations we recently posted.

  • Raleigh Martin of SEN will be at the EarthCube booth #509, Wednesday 11:30a-12:30p if you'd like to chat about sediment experiments and the tools and resources we are trying to share.

SEN-related presentations at the 2016 Fall AGU Meeting

An incomplete listing of SEN related presentations at the 2016 Fall AGU Meeting. We tried to crowdsource this, but ended up searching the AGU Fall Meeting Schedule by ourselves and simultaneously (1) got a headache and (2) was amazed at all of the experimental work going on.

Is your presentation missing? Email














Experimentalist of the Month: Joel P. Johnson

SEN is starting up a new segment with featured experimentalists!

This month:

Joel P. Johnson

Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Austin

Joel with first-generation smartrocks in 2009

How did you first get involved with SEN?

I first attended a SEN-organized workshop a few years ago which was excellent!

What different types of experiments have you worked with?

Working in many cases with students, I have conducted experiments on bedrock erosion, flash flood sediment transport and sorting, tsunami deposition of suspended sediments, disequilibrium gravel transport and step-pool experiments, hillslope diffusion experiments that didn't entirely work, and of course debris flow experiments with smartrocks. I am currently working with a Masters student on experiments to compare dissolution vs. abrasion of bedrock rates and erosional morphologies. 

What is a favorite memory of yours in the lab?

Building a flume-within-a-flume, modifying a shopping cart to catch sediment, and throwing my first smartrocks into experimental debris flows with Leslie Hsu.

What do you hope SEN will help the experimental community to achieve?

We as a community have been both lazy and selfish about sharing data, and that should change.  Making sharing data the expectation, and also incentivizing doing so, is important.

Thanks for being part of SEN, Joel!

Send nominations for featured experimentalists to

Tips for student presenters at AGU

Are you a student presenting at the Fall AGU Meeting?

Here are some tips from the EPSP Outstanding Student Paper Award organizers in 2014:

Thanks to the judges for their tremendous volunteer effort in the 2014 OSPA program! And thanks to our EPSP student community, you did a great job presenting your science. Here is a round-up of the 2014 AGU OSPA judging comments, which may help for future presentations:

Common judging comments:

  1. Get people excited about your work. Enthusiasm, liveliness, and spark about your presentation help make a good impression and generally help earn higher scores.
  2. Be able to answer the question "Why does it matter?" Know how your project will advance the field, how it fits into the already published literature, and your hypothesis. This was one of the most common issues that judges noted, either because it was successfully or not successfully addressed.
  3. At a poster presentation, try to acknowledge and talk to all visitors. You don't know who might be your judge and don't want to keep them waiting too long! When discussing, it helps to make eye contact to everyone standing at the poster. Try to treat visitors equally and acknowledge them when speaking. When presenting, try to allow time for your audience to ask questions.
  4. Don't overwhelm your audience with poster or slide text or content. At a poster, if asked for a five minute summary, aim for that and don't give your 15 minute speech. Too much text or figures that are too small are commonly noted by judges.
  5. Be at your poster when you say you'll be, or leave a note. The judges use your specified time slot to make their schedules. Judges are busy, and if you are not there, you miss out on the chance to be evaluated (and you might make your judge a little agitated.)

Other notes from the judging comments:

  1. Even if your project is still in the beginning stages, you can make a good impression by knowing the context of your work and your vision for the future of the project.
  2. Emphasize the summary/take home points early and end strongly on them.
  3. Phrase things in a positive light (without going overboard), as opposed to saying disparaging or inconclusive things about your findings.
  4. Try to gauge audience knowledge - don't assume they know all about your technique unless it is extremely common, give appropriate background information.
  5. Speak loudly enough for judges to hear you.
  6. Several judges wished there were maps for context of the study.
  7. If for some reason you cannot attend, withdraw your poster from the OSPA competition.

Ken Ferrier and Leslie Hsu - OSPA coordinators 2014

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

HYDRALAB Workshop on Scaling and Optical techniques for Hydraulic Experiments

From Stuart J. McLelland:

Dear All,

HYDRALAB+ is providing an opportunity for PhD students and Early Careers Researchers to participate in a workshop on Scaling issues in hydraulic models and optical measurement techniques. The workshop will include presentations on scaling and optical methods for measurements in fluids. Participants will get hands-on experience with different measurement techniques in four different laboratory experiments and will learn how to process and analyse data before present their results and interpretations.

The workshop will take place at IMFT (UMR 5502), Toulouse, France on 18-20 January 2017. The techniques covered during the workshop will include: 2D-2C Particle Image Velocimetry, Laser Doppler Anemometry, Ombroscopy, and Altimetry using fringe projection.

If you are interested in participating, please apply by 5th December 2016 using the application form at the web address below. The cost of accommodation and some meals will be included and there is funding available towards travel costs.

Poster advertising full details of workshop:

Weblink to overview and application form:

Stuart McLelland

Dr Stuart McLelland
Head of Geography
Geography, School of Environmental Sciences
University of Hull

Tel (office/lab): 01482 465007/381050
Mobile: 07590 689665
Twitter: @StuartMcLelland

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Upcoming webinar on SuAVE tool for sharing and visually exploring surveys and image collections - Friday, 11/18

Please take note of the next in the series of "EarthCube Tools" webinars, which will be useful for any scientists needing to share and visualize surveys and image collections.

Title: SuAVE - Survey Analysis via Visual Exploration

Friday, November 18, at 2 pm EST (1 PM CST, 12 PM MST, 11 AM PST, 9 AM HST)

Presenters: Ilya Zaslavsky, San Diego Supercomputer Center

Description: SuAVE is a new online tool for sharing and visually exploring surveys and image collections. It originated in the CINERGI Building Block project and has been used to analyze the EarthCube Member Survey, and then for CINERGI Community Resource Viewers. With SuAVE you can publish your data online (mixed numeric and text data, and images), slice and dice the data based on any combination of attributes, visualize general patterns and drill down to outliers, explore various data views, annotate your findings, and share annotations with collaborators. See for examples in the geosciences and other fields including sociology, biology and ecology, archaeology, art history and humanities, urban planning, and medical informatics.

Call-in and event details are available here.
About the webinars:The EarthCube Tools webinar series, organized by the Science Committee of the NSF-sponsored EarthCube program, provides practical demonstrations of how EarthCube projects can help you to collect, access, share, and visualize geoscience data.  Each webinar begins with a showcase of an EarthCube funded project followed by ample time for questions and conversation.  Wary of EarthCube jargon?  Presenters will describe their projects in plain English for scientists in all disciplines who may be unfamiliar with EarthCube.  Here’s a chance for you (and your colleagues, team members, and students) to learn about EarthCube and how it can help to advance your scientific work.  More information on the webinar series is available here.  Archived video will be available on the website about one week after the webinar.

Upcoming webinar:
"CINERGI," Ilya Zaslavsky (San Diego Supercomputer Center)
Friday, January 20, 2017, 2 pm EST (1 PM CST, 12 PM MST, 11 AM PST, 9 AM HST)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

SEN October Newsletter: AGU, Datathon, Publishing data, and Recent SEN Knowledge Base entries

Greetings experimentalists!

A list of SEN-related presentations at AGU

Do you have an oral or poster presentation at the Fall AGU Meeting that is related to sediment experiments? Forward your email from AGU (From:, Subject: 2016 AGU Fall Meeting Abstract Status Notification) and share it with We'll compile a great list of presentations to see. Send your contribution by Nov. 10. We'll share the list next month.


To accelerate the development of the SEN Knowledge Base (SEN-KB: as a useful tool for collaborative research on sedimentary processes, the Sediment Experimentalist Network (SEN) will be hosting a “DataThon” on the Sunday prior to this year’s AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco. The DataThon will bring together a core group of sedimentary scientists (with a focus on early-career scientists) to contribute new entries and improve existing entries in SEN-KB, and to build accompanying entries in the SEAD repository. Leaders of SEN will be onsite to help DataThon participants to learn how to use and navigate SEN-KB for this activity. Please contact us at if you would like to participate in this collaborative activity. SEN can cover your hotel and food costs for the day of the event.

Publishing data with the help of SEN and SEAD

SEN is partnering with SEAD data services to make our experimental data accessible and citable. We've been helping people to curate their data in SEAD 1.5, and we are making the transition to SEAD 2.0. Do you have data to publish? Contact us at and we'll help you.

Recent SEN Knowledgebase entries

New paper

Application of Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry in laboratory flumes … (Morgan et al.)

Notable Tweet

Baby barchan dunes in my experimental channel (Kim)

Share your papers and tweets with us and we'll help spread the word. @sedimentexp or

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August 2016 Newsletter

August 2016 Newsletter

Dear Experimentalists,

We have a few important events and updates we want to let you know about.

This issue contains the following:
  1. SEN Receives Award!
  2. CSDMS-SEN Meeting Recap
  3. Upcoming Webinars
  4. EarthCube All Hands Meeting Summary
  5. Selected Recent SEN Knowledge Base Entries

1.  SEN Receives Award!
The Geoscience Information Society Best Paper Committee chose a paper by the SEN leadership for their 2016 award.  The paper, published in Geomorphology and entitled “Data Management, sharing, and reuse in experimental geomorphology: Challenges, strategies, and scientific opportunities”, can be found here.

One of the award selection committee members wrote:
 “I think it addresses an important topic for both scientists and librarians/libraries, it covers the needs and challenges of this topic, proposes guidelines/suggestions, addresses incentives and training, and discusses the importance of data publication in the scientific process. I also feel that the authors did a great job reviewing the literature including research in their scientific field and research in the library and data science literature”

This is the Geoscience Information Society’s 50th Anniversary and will be presented during the GSA Annual Meeting in Denver.

2.  CSDMS-SEN Meeting Recap
This year SEN co-hosted the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System’s (CSDMS) annual meeting held on May 17-19th, 2016 in Boulder, Colorado, with over 120 people were in attendance.  SEN’s own Wonsuck Kim presented a keynote talk (click link to see presentation) about “Overcoming Grand Challenges by Collaboration between Experimentalists and Modelers”.   SEN also hosted a clinic to demonstrate the experimental data lifecycle and promote experimentalist-modeler collaboration through the use of the Knowledge Base.  Through this clinic we were able to obtain community feedback on the Knowledge Base site (, which we have already started to implement.  For more detailed information about the meeting, including major outcomes, please see our full workshop report.

3.  Upcoming Webinars
The EarthCube Science Committee is excited to announce the next in its series of "EarthCube Tools" webinars, which will be useful for any scientists needing to manage or share their research data:

Title: EarthCollab: Enabling Scientific Collaboration and Discovery Through Linked Scientific Resources

Date/time: Friday, August 5, at 2 pm EDT (1 PM CDT, 12 PM MDT, 11 AM PDT/MST, 8 AM HST)

Presenter: Matthew Mayernik, NCAR

Description: The EarthCollab project is improving the discovery and sharing of information to advance research. This project is leveraging web identifier and vocabulary structures that have been widely adopted in the geoscience and cyberinfrastructure communities to facilitate exchange of information across the internet, thereby allowing research projects to leverage representations of researchers, data sets, tools, and organizations wherever they reside online.

Call-in and event details are available here.

About the webinars:
The EarthCube Tools for Doing Geoscience webinar series, organized by the Science Committee of the NSF-sponsored EarthCube program, provides practical demonstrations of how EarthCube projects can help you to collect, access, share, and visualize geoscience data. Each webinar begins with a showcase of an EarthCube funded project followed by ample time for questions and conversation. Wary of EarthCube jargon? Presenters will describe their projects in plain English for scientists in all disciplines who may be unfamiliar with EarthCube. Here’s a chance for you (and your colleagues, team members, and students) to learn about EarthCube and how it can help to advance your scientific work. More information on the webinar series is available here. Archived video will be available on the website about one week after the webinar.

We are also excited to announce an upcoming webinar training on the Open Science Framework (OSF).

Title: OSF 101 Webinar

Date/time: Tuesday, August 9, at 1 pm EDT (12 PM CDT, 11 AM MDT, 10 AM PDT/MST, 7 AM HST)

Description: This webinar is an introduction to using the Open Science Framework (OSF; - a free, open source web application built to help researchers manage their workflows. The OSF is part collaboration tool, part version control software, and part data archive. The OSF connects to popular tools researchers already use, like Dropbox, Box, Github and Mendeley, to streamline workflows and increase efficiency. This webinar will get you up to speed on using the OSF, show helpful tips and tricks, and give you a launching pad for managing your first OSF project!

Registration and event details are available here.

4.  EarthCube All Hands Meeting Summary
This past July, EarthCube hosted its annual All Hands Meeting in Denver, CO.  The theme for this year's meeting was "EarthCube Connects," which emphasizes the connectivity between cyberinfrastructure (CI) technologies, geoscience domains, and geoscientists that will drive EarthCube's implementation. It also captures the goal of building a system of systems that supports cross-disciplinary research. SEN was in attendance and presented on our progress over the past year.  For more information on meeting, please see the AGU blog post.

5.  Selected recent SEN Knowledge Base entries

For up to date information about SEN, please check out our blog at and follow us on Twitter (@sedimentexp).

Happy experimenting,
The Sediment Experimentalist Network