I am a terrestrial biogeochemist. In my research group, we generally work on three major research areas in soil biogeochemistry investigating the effects of physical perturbations in the environment on soil organic matter (SOM) dynamics. The overall goal of my work is better integration of biogeochemical and geomorphological approaches to derive improved representation of mechanisms that regulate organic matter (OM) persistence in the soil system. I focus a large portion of the research in my lab towards dynamic landscapes because most of the terrestrial biosphere is dominated by sloping landscapes where biogeochemical cycling of essential elements is controlled by interaction of geomorphic, pedogenic, and ecological processes that shape the landscapes. Furthermore, in our work we try to gain better understanding of the dynamic and two-way relationship of human beings with the soil system.
Our group’s research interests lie at the interface of soil science and global change science. One of the most important goals of our research is to understand the effect of changing environmental conditions on vital soil processes, most importantly the cycling and fate of essential elements in the critical zone. We study soil processes in systems experiencing natural and/or anthropogenic perturbation in order to understand fundamental principles governed by geomorphology, and contemporary modifications introduced by changes in landuse and climate.
One of the newest additions to the research projects in the Berhe biogeochemistry lab is the study of interactive effects of fire and erosion on persistence of soil organic matter. Here we are studying to what extent fires change rates of soil erosion and the implications of lateral transport of topsoil mineral and charred organic matter on decomposition and mineral reactivity of organic matter along dynamic hillslopes.
Check out some of the coverage our work has received in different outlets
- NSF Early Career Award Honors Professor’s Research and Potential (link)
- USDA National Research Initiative Highlight (link)
- California Magazine (link)
- View from LBL (link)
- Science at Berkeley Lab, (link)
- Conservation Megazine (link)
- Soil Scientists work keeps her grounded (link)
See the News page for information on available positions, and latest developments in our research group.