Group members

Principal Investigator`

Asmeret in the alps
Asmeret Asefaw Berhe
Associate Professor, Soil Biogeochemistry
Life and Environmental Sciences
University of California, Merced

AABerhe – CV
email: aaberhe(at)ucmerced(dot)edu

Postdoctoral scholars, Visiting Scholars, Collaborators

Fernanda_river_CAFernanda Santos


Research focus: Dynamics of pyrogenic carbon in soil, effect of combustion temperature on composition of dissolved organic matter in fire affected systems

Nathaniel Bogienate_field

(Berhe lab and Ghezzehei lab)

Research focus: Effect of drought and variability of soil water input on soil carbon, aggregation, and water holding capacity

Current students

Rebecca Lever

Ph.D. Candidate
Environmental Systems Graduate Group, UC Merced
email: rlever(at)ucmerced(dot)edu

Research focus: Lateral transport of pyrogenic C with soil erosion, and determining mean residence time of PyC in dynamic hillslopes

Lixia Jin

Ph.D. student
Environmental Systems Graduate Group, UC Merced
email: ljin3(at)ucmerced(dot)edu

Research focus: Role of metal oxides in soil organic matter dynamics, and distribution of natural nano-particulate metal oxides in soil

Morgan Barnes

Barnes_website photo
PhD student
Environmental Systems Graduate Group, UC Merced
co-advised by Stephen C. Hart

Research focus: Phosphorous Biogeochemistry, and effect of soil development on biogeochemical cycling of essential elements

Kimber Moreland

Kimber for website
PhD student
Environmental Systems Graduate Group, UC Merced

Research focus:Dynamics of deep SOM, and climatic controls on biogeochemical cycling of essential elements

Lab Alumni

Chelsea Arnold

Washington 09 196

Ph.D. 2014, UC Merced
Environmental Systems Graduate Group
Co-advised by Teamrat A. Ghezzehei
Research focus: Coupled hydrology and biogeochemistry of high elevation meadow soils in the Sierra Nevada
Current: Director of

Samuel Negusse Araya


M.Sc. 2014, UC Merced
Environmental Systems Graduate Group
Research focus: The effect of combustion temperature on soil and soil organic matter properties

Erin Stacy

M.Sc.  2012, UC Merced
Environmental Systems Graduate Group
Co-advised by Stephen C. Hart
Research focus: effect of soil erosion on storage and stabilization of soil organic matter in the S. Sierra Nevada
Current: Field Manager for the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory

Michael Kaiser

Michael photo
Former Postdoc (2010-2012)
currently a senior lecturer at University of Kassel, Germany
Research focus: effect of ultrasonication, air-drying rewetting on soil organic matter dynamics; effect of biochar and CaCO3 on soil aggregation


Deoyani V. Sarkhot

Former Postdoc (2009-2010)
Research focus:nutrient enrichment of biochar with flushed dairy manure, effects on soils C and N dynamics
Currently at EcoPro, India


Emma McCorkle


M.Sc. student
Environmental Systems Graduate Group
UC Merced
Co-advised by Stephen C. Hart
email: emccorkle(at)ucmerced(dot)edu
Research focus: Role of erosion in terrestrial carbon sequestration; and Using stable isotopes to determine source of organic matter eroded in low-order granitic catchments in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
Current position: Research technician, Reynolds Creek CZO, Moscow, ID

Jesseca Meyer

Former Lab Manager
Current Position: High school Life Science teacher, Atwater, CA



Former Visiting Scholars


Elisabet Nadeu
Visiting Ph.D. Student
Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura (CEBAS), Spain



Sebastian Doetterl
Visiting Postdoc
University of Ghent, Belgium


Yaxian photo
Yaxian Hu
Visiting Postdoc
University of Basel, Switzerland

Former Undergraduate Assistants

MattMatthew McClintock
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Currently a graduate student at Oregon State University

Alex photo Alexander Newman

  • Lateral redistribution of Fe and Al oxides  by soil erosion
  • Storage and stabilization of C in soil


Dziegiel_Abby_200_200_80auto_s_c1 Abigail Dziegiel

Yosemite REU student researcher


Stephen Ho
Yosemite REU student researcher
Laura Jelpa
Undergraduate lab research assistant
Jennifer Gurreroquantum-threat-to-relativity_1_1

Undergraduate lab research assistant


Alex GueorguievaFullSizeRender

Research focus: Erosion in fire affected hillslopes