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Honest Titles for Scholarly Works

The titles for many scholarly publications (at least in my field) are not as direct, succinct, or honest as they could be. So many titles are vague and non-descript, giving only partial no hint into the research objective, methods, or results. It’s like some titles are just a few keywords strung together so that the paper can be lumped into some field of similar topics. I made that mistake, too, when titling my thesis (first example). Other titles are decent attempts at being precise and making claims, needing just a little polishing. In an effort to improve titles–whether needed or not–I present the following.



Sampling more stream sites more often works pretty well for understanding phosphorus transport.

Pearce, A.W. 2017. Assessing Phosphorus Sources with Synoptic Sampling in the Surface Waters of a Mixed-Use, Montane Watershed. Brigham Young University Scholar Archives.




Bumpy ground in Arkansas influenced surface soil nutrients around a few rows of trees.

Adhikari, K., P.R. Owens, A.J. Ashworth, T.J. Sauer, Z. Libohova, et al. 2018. Topographic Controls on Soil Nutrient Variations in a Silvopasture System. Agrosystems, Geosciences & Environment 1(1). doi: 10.2134/age2018.04.0008.




By 2050, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles continue with challenges even as agriculture becomes more efficient.

Bouwman, A.F., A.H.W. Beusen, and G. Billen. 2009. Human alteration of the global nitrogen and phosphorus soil balances for the period 1970-2050. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 23(4). doi: 10.1029/2009GB003576.




A century of producing livestock has cranked up nitrogen and phosphorus surplus in the environment. And it will probably continue.

Bouwman, L., K.K. Goldewijk, K.W.V.D. Hoek, A.H.W. Beusen, D.P.V. Vuuren, J. Willems, M.C. Rufino, and E. Stehfest. 2013. Exploring global changes in nitrogen and phosphorus cycles in agriculture induced by livestock production over the 1900-2050 period. PNAS 110(52): 20882-20887. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1012878108.




Corn for silage soaks up lots of phosphorus from soil. Also, Indian mustard.

Delorme, T.A., J.S. Angle, F.J. Coale, and R.L. Chaney. 2000. Phytoremediation of Phosphorus-Enriched Soils. International Journal of Phytoremediation 2(2): 173-181. doi: 10.1080/15226510008500038.




Dissolved reactive phosphorus loss from some Ohio fields greater when soils tested higher for extractable phosphorus.

Duncan, E.W., K.W. King, M.R. Williams, G. LaBarge, L.A. Pease, D.R. Smith, and N.R. Fausey. 2017. Linking Soil Phosphorus to Dissolved Phosphorus Losses in the Midwest. Agricultural & Environmental Letters 2(1). doi: 10.2134/ael2017.02.0004.




Flash flooding has increased in Pozzuoli mostly because it’s raining more.

Esposito, G., F. Matano, and G. Scepi. 2018. Analysis of Increasing Flash Flood Frequency in the Densely Urbanized Coastline of the Campi Flegrei Volcanic Area, Italy. Front. Earth Sci. 6. doi: 10.3389/feart.2018.00063.




Integrated conservation practices reduced the concentrations of ammonium, nitrate, and total phosphorus in a lake.

Lizotte, R.E., L.M.W. Yasarer, M.A. Locke, R.L. Bingner, and S.S. Knight. 2017. Lake Nutrient Responses to Integrated Conservation Practices in an Agricultural Watershed. Journal of Environmental Quality 46(2): 330-338. doi: 10.2134/jeq2016.08.0324.




Put less P-rich feed in livestock diets to reduce P surpluses out the other end.

Maguire, R.O., D.A. Crouse, and S.C. Hodges. 2007. Diet Modification to Reduce Phosphorus Surpluses: A Mass Balance Approach. Journal of Environmental Quality 36(5): 1235-40.




Phosphorus and nitrogen balance reduced 33% without hurting two farms' net income.

Pellerin, D., E. Charbonneau, L. Fadul-Pacheco, O. Soucy, and M.A. Wattiaux. 2017. Economic effect of reducing nitrogen and phosphorus mass balance on Wisconsin and Quebec dairy farms. Journal of Dairy Science 100(10): 8614-8629. doi: 10.3168/jds.2016-11984.




Use P-based manure rates to manage soil phosphorus, but if corns gets manure at N-based rate, grow alfalfa for longer in rotation.

Sadeghpour, A., Q.M. Ketterings, G.S. Godwin, and K.J. Czymmek. 2017. Shifting from N-based to P-based manure management maintains soil test phosphorus dynamics in a long-term corn and alfalfa rotation. Agron. Sustain. Dev. 37(2): 8. doi: 10.1007/s13593-017-0416-z.

Actually, the original title ain’t too bad as it at least claims something.




Setting multiple benchmarks for N and P balances and use efficiencies helps Irish grassland farms be more sustainable. Also, our dataset is huge!

Thomas, I.A., C. Buckley, E. Kelly, E. Dillon, L. Lynch, B. Moran, T. Hennessy, and P.N.C. Murphy. 2018. Establishing national benchmarks of N and P balances and use efficiencies on Irish grassland farms. Proceedings of the 27th General Meeting of the European Grassland Federation, Cork, Ireland, 17-21 June 2018: 1016-1018.


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