Watch: 5 surprising perks of being a soil scientist

Watch: 5 surprising perks of being a soil scientist

Right now, you’re standing on top of something incredible. It filters your water, grows the nutritious food you eat and helps regulate the climate around you. It’s soil – and according to Dr Samantha Grover, soil scientist and Research Fellow at La Trobe University’s School of Life Sciences, it’s the grounding for an advantageous science career. Here’s five reasons why.

1. You don’t have to get up late at night

It’s not uncommon for scientists to only work at night. If you’re a sleep researcher, an ecologist studying the impact of evening light pollution, or a zoologist focused on nocturnal animals, your major work is done between dusk and dawn. But as a soil scientist, your pay-dirt awaits during waking hours.

2. You don’t have to set intricate traps

Physicists trap atoms, field biologists lure animals with camera traps and marine scientists will soon use pheromones to ensnare starfish. By contrast – and with the exception of landslides, dust storms and erosion – soil stays reliably in one place. Which means you’ll never have to spend valuable field time hunting for your subject matter.

3. You don’t have to think about the season

Soil doesn’t hibernate during winter or breed in spring. Instead, it respects your need for a sunny Queensland getaway, or a trip to see Japan’s famous autumn leaves, by being available year-round. And when it’s time to be in the field, you can plan your work based on the pick of the weather forecast.

4. You get to spend time both in the field and in the lab

Looking for a career that balances indoor and outdoor work? As a soil scientist, you’ll get your hands dirty in the field, then clean up to analyse soil samples in the lab. Dr Grover’s current research looks at sport and climate change, which means she shares her time between the footy field and the university’s AgriBio research centre.

5. You can travel to amazing places

Soil science has carried Dr Grover to projects all over the world. She’s worked with soil in the Australian Alps, Tibet, New Zealand and Indonesia. And she’s even travelled to Antarctica!

As she says, ‘science can definitely take you to a lot of interesting places’.

Kick-start your career in science at La Trobe University.