Technical Sessions

Theme: Spatial / Digital Soil

Session Title & Description Conveners
Session 10 Quantifying complex spatial and temporal variability for sustainable soil management The session solicits contributions on the recent developments in the fundamental, experimental, methodological and modelling studies quantifying complex spatial and temporal variability of soil properties in order to understand complex soil systems. Asim Biswas (McGill U.)
Session 11 Mapping the Pedosphere This session explores key issues in digital soil mapping such as the development of soil sampling procedures over space; the development and collection of soil-environmental covariates; the application of remote sensing and proximal sensing techniques; the comparison of predictive models; the use of soil map products to aid in digital soil assessments; and other related topics. Brandon Heung (SFU),
Margaret Schmidt (SFU),
Chuck Bulmer (BCMoFLNRO)
Session 12 Soil Science and Emerging Digital Technologies This session presents the contributions of digital technologies to collect, format, store, analyse, and visualize soil data for private or public uses. We welcome presentations related to the development of digital forms, web mapping, and other GIS tools. Steeve Deschênes (GeoBC),
Saeed Dyanatkar (UBC)

Theme: Soil Nutrient Management

Session Title Conveners
Session 2 Putting the numbers to nutrient loss mitigation practices This session will provide the opportunity to present and discuss the latest scientific findings of agricultural system management impacts on nutrient loss to surface waters. Kim Schneider (AAFC), Kimberley
Session 5 Advances in nitrogen management in agricultural soils This session will highlight recent developments in controlled release fertilizer technology, the mechanisms of nutrient release and how this influences crop yields and nutrient dynamics. Noura Ziadi (AAFC) ,
Keith Reid (AAFC)

Theme: Climate Change and Soils

Session Title Conveners
Session 6 Soil organic matter: measurement, modelling, field studies This session will focus on the evidence for agricultural management strategies that increase soil organic carbon to meet the dual objectives of both climate adaptation and mitigation and the potential trade-offs between them. Topics will include methods for quantifying soil carbon sequestration and losses from the field to landscape scale. Sean Smukler (UBC),
Hida Manns (Trent U.)
Session 7 Greenhouse gas emissions from soil systems This session will discuss methods for measuring and modeling greenhouse gas emissions, assess the effect of management practices on greenhouse gas emissions, and explore policy implications of greenhouse gas management. Scott Chang (U. Alberta),
Rich Farrell (U. Sask.),
Mario Tenuta (U. Manitoba)

Theme: Soil Management

Session Title Conveners
Session 1 Ecological processes in managed soils This session will provide a forum for researchers working in agriculture, forestry and other related fields to share the results of work aimed at studying ecological patterns and processes in soils of managed ecosystems. Sylvie Quideau (U. Alberta),
Kirsten Hannam (
Session 4 Soil health: assessing the effects of management on the soil’s physical, chemical, and biological properties Soil health integrates the physical, chemical and biological attributes of soil to assess the soil’s capacity to function. Though soil health is well defined, how we measure and interpret it is not. This session will explore approaches for measuring soil health and highlight studies that consider the effects of land management for food and fiber production on the biological, chemical and physical properties of soil. Amanda Diochon (Lakehead U.),
Laura van Eerd (U. of Guelph)
Session 8 Soil topics from restoration, rangelands, and forestry activities Natural resource management is typically focused on the impacts to plants and animals on the landscape, but the effects on soil properties and processes seldom gets the attention it deserves. The goal of this session is to highlight research from rangeland and forest sciences, as well as restoration activities across a variety of landscapes Brian Wallace (BCMoFLNRO),
Wendy Gardner (Thompson Rivers U.)

Theme: Soil Science Education

Session Title Conveners
Session 3 Experiential learning in soil and environmental sciences This session will explore innovative undergraduate and graduate teaching with a focus on experiential learning and assessment. It is a venue to share one’s experience using a learner centered approach to teaching in our disciplines. Tom Yates (U. Sask.),
Amanda Diochon (Lakehead U.)

Theme: General Soil Science

Session Title Conveners
Session 9 Topics in Soil Science Tom Forge (AAFC)

A guide to convening a session at the CSSS annual meeting

Convening a session at a conference may seem intimidating, especially if you are an early career scientist and a first-time convener. That is why we have put together this outline of the main steps of the process. With the call for sessions for the 2016 CSSS-PRSSS conference open until October 30, 2015, now is the perfect time to consider it. The key ingredients are an idea for a session, your willingness to serve as a convener and a good session description.

2015 CSSS Meeting in Montreal

One of the sessions at the 2015 CSSS annual meeting in Montreal, QC (photo by Blake Bissonnette)

How does it all work?

The CSSS annual conference is organized around the session program. The Technical Session Committee (TSC) of the Organizing Committee creates a skeleton program, then, the call for sessions opens, usually in the summer – fall preceding the conference. This is the time when the scientific community is invited to suggest new sessions. Once the call closes, the TSC evaluates the proposed sessions and decides if they should be included in the program.

I’ve got an idea for a session, what do I do next?

Before submitting your session proposal, you will need to make sure you have:

  • A session title.
  • A session description. This will provide the TSC with information when evaluating whether your session should be included in the program.

Proposing the session

Session proposals should include a title, the names and email addresses of one or more conveners (with the principal contact name underlined) and a brief description (< 250 words). Session proposals should be forwarded to Margaret Schmidt (, with a copy to Maja Krzic ( ), by October 30, 2015

I’ve proposed a session, what is the next step?

From when the call for sessions closes on October 30, 2015 to mid-November 2015, the TSC will select the session and create a tentative conference program.

You will be notified once selection has been made and a tentative list of session has been published on-line ( ). You can then sit back and relax, at least for a little while! From mid-November until February 25, 2016, the call for abstracts will be open. To generate interest in your session, you are encouraged to advertise it amongst your colleagues/collaborators and any potentially interested researchers within the field.

My session proposal has been accepted, now what?

As a convener, you have the following duties:

  • Advertise your sessions to attract abstracts
  • Organize your session in terms of the schedule
  • Allocate presentation types (oral or poster) on the basis of the abstract submissions
spread the word

Spreading the word about your session is crucial to attracting abstracts. (Image modified from: Social Media Communication, distributed via Wikimedia Commons).

Advertising is important

This year, the call for abstracts will open on December 1, 2015 and close on February 25, 2016.

During this period it is important that you advertise your session within your community to attract people to submit abstracts. You can do this by reaching out to colleagues, collaborators and the wider contacts within your community.

Organizing your session

Once all abstracts are in (the deadline for submission of abstracts is February 25, 2016), it is time to organize your session! Depending on the number of abstracts your session receives, it will be accepted or you might be asked to merge with another session or (in the case of a very low number of abstract submissions) canceled. You will also have to review all the abstracts submitted to your session and decide whether to accept them, reject them or direct them to another more suitable session.

Once the content of your session is finalized, you will get the opportunity to determine the order of presentations in your session and to make no-overlap requests with other sessions. Keep in mind that the TSC will do its best to meet requests, but that this is not always possible due to the complications associated with building a conference program.

By mid-April 2016, the TSC will have finalized the conference program and the conveners have one final job left: to organize the details of sessions in terms of presentation types. You will have to choose which abstracts are to be allocated an oral presentation slot vs. a poster presentation.

Armed now with an outline of how to put together a winning session and details of your roles and responsibilities as a convener, why not give it a go? You have until October 30, 2015 to submit a session proposal!

Margaret Schmidt (Chair, Technical Session Committee)
Maja Krzic (Chair, Organizing Committee)