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Asmeret writes about Soil, Climate change, and Equity in TIME magazine

In the July 20, 2020 issue of TIME, Asmeret argued for the need to center soils and equity in our efforts to address climate change. “The interconnected nature of the climate, soil systems and the future of global food production demands that we simultaneously address climate change and rehabilitation of degraded soils.”

Asmeret interviewed for RadioBio podcast on International Education Week



Listen to the episode at the RadioBio website
For UC Merced’s International Education Week, this RadioBio episode includes interviews with five researchers on their unique experiences with international research: Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Dr. Felipe Zapata, Dr. Gregory Mutumi, Dr. Samuel Wasser, and Dr. Teamrat Ghezzehei. From soil science to conservation biology to everything in between! Each story highlights the various ways we can be inspired by the world around us, and how science reaches beyond physical and political boundaries. Join us, as listening to life, goes international!

Asmeret’s TEDtalk is now available online.

There’s two times more carbon in the earth’s soil than in all of its vegetation and the atmosphere — combined. Soil Biogeochemist Asmeret Asefaw Berhe shared how we could use its awesome carbon-trapping power to offset climate change. “[Soil] represents the difference between life and lifelessness in the earth system, and it can also help us combat climate change — if we can only stop treating it like dirt,” she says.

This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.

Asmeret @ TEDtalk: Soil can be an important part of the solution to address climate change, if only we can just stop treating it like dirt!


It was an incredible honor to get invited to talk about soils and climate change at TED2019 conference in Vancouver.


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You can read about my talk from:

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As if speaking about soil and climate change at this stage was not exciting enough, I also got to meet Al Gore, who of course was very well knowledgeable about the role of soils and importance of regenerative agriculture for climate change mitigation,  and was kind enough to express that he was happy to see I was there to talk  about soils and climate change.


I felt like my job was done, when my talk got a  shout out during the wrap up of the conference from Freestyle Love Supreme–the improv brainchild of Anthony Veneziale and Lin-Manuel Miranda–in their improve performance by Anthony Veneziale, Christopher Jackson (Hamilton’s George Washington himself!), Chris Sullivan, Arthur Lewis, and Utkarsh Ambudkar. IMG_1900.jpeg

So long Vancouver, this was fun!



Asmeret told the story of her scientific journey at The Story Collider: AGU Fall Meeting 2018

Video of Asmeret’s talk is available at 

Asmeret was one of the speakers at a special Geosciences edition of The Story Collider that was held during AGU (American Geophysical Union)  Fall 2018 Annual meeting in Washington DC.

Image result for agu 2018 story collider berheThis was an  awesome talk that includes several other speakers: Carol Finn, Ryan Haupt, Sarah Kaplan, Janine Kipner  and Katherine Hayhoe … all the videos are available at AGU Sharing science’s youtube page at





Morgan and Kimber received DOE fellowships

I am incredibly proud of Berhe lab grad students Kimber Moreland and Morgan Barnes for receiving DOE’s Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program (SCGSR) fellowships that provide students with thesis research opportunities at Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories. The fellowships are designed to allow science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) graduate students to utilize the resources available at national laboratory sites, such as equipment and the expertise of DOE laboratory scientists. Most fellows remain at a site for three to 12 months. In order to apply, graduates must provide a SCGSR research proposal in partnership with a DOE laboratory research scientist, and in collaboration with their graduate thesis advisor.
As part of their fellowship research Kimber is spending time at the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry at the Lawrence Livermore Lab  and Morgan is spending time at the Environmental Molecular Sciences laboratory at the Pacific Northwest National Lab.
Read all about their fellowship at

Berhe is co-PI on a new grant to study effectiveness of biochar for reducing greenhouse gas fluxes from soil

Our team (Professors Gerardo Diaz, Teamrat Ghezzehei, Rebecca RyalsYangQuan ChenCatherine Keske and our very own Asmeret Asefaw Berhe  received a $3 million grant from the California Strategic Growth Council to examine how biochar can be produced and used to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, namely methane. Our team will explore the feasibility of a mobile biochar unit through technology development and field testing.
see link for more details

Merced Soil Chronosequence work to unravel how weathering and soil mineralogy control response of soil carbon to warming

We studied a 100s to 3 million yrs soil chronosequence preserved in alluvial terrace deposits of the Merced River, CA to unravel how soil mineralogy affects soil carbon storage and succeptibility to warming. This study was recently published in Nature Geoscience.

Link to the article on Nature Geoscience website 

See also the UC Merced Press Release about the article at this link

Asmeret selected as a National Academies New Voice in Science, Engineering, and Medicine

Asmeret is selected to serve as an inaugural member of the Academies’ newest initiative — New Voices in Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (SEM). The New Voices in SEM “will engage in communicating the evidence base for addressing national and global challenges to provide new perspectives on issues of importance to the community represented by the National Academies, and to help identify ways to expand the diversity of expertise that is brought to all of the Academies’ convening and advisory activities.”

See, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine Press release

UC Merced Press Release is also available at“new-voice”-science

Kimber receives UC-Lab FEES fellowship

Ph.D. Candidate Kimber Moreland received a UC-Lab FEES fellowship for a two-year in residence fellowship at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). This highly competitive award will support Kimber on her dissertation research on “Climatic Controls of Subsoil Organic Carbon Dynamics” that is taking place at the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory. During her fellowship, Kimber will be co-mentored by Dr. Karis McFarlane at the Atmospheric, Earth and Energy Division and Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS) at LLNL.

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