Asmeret receives NSF’s most prestigious award for early career scientists for work dealing with “CAREER:Persistence of soil organic matter in dynamic landscapes: interactive effects of fire and erosion” Fire, erosion, and soil carbon (C) storage and persistence overlap in space and time. However, we currently lack complete understanding on how and why the interaction of fire and erosional distribution of soil materials control persistence of bulk soil organic matter (SOM) and pyrogenic C (PyC, also referred to as black carbon) in dynamic landscapes. This work will use molecular- and nano-scale techniques to determine how SOM persistence varies along multiple spatial (plot, hillslope, and watersheds) and temporal scalesRead More →

Two Research Experience for Undergraduates positions are available for work that focuses on water resources and soil nutrients in the Southern Sierra Critical Zone observatory. Please visit for more information, and don’t hesitate to contact Asmeret if you have any questions. The deadline for submission is 11:59 pm PDT, May 13, 2014.Read More →

Chelsea Arnold successfully defended her dissertation on friday May 2, 2014. The title of Chelsea’s dissertation is ” Coupled hydrological and biogeochemical dynamics in high elevation meadows: thresholds, resiliency and change.” Abstract: High elevation meadow ecosystems play a fundamental role in the storage and movement of water from the snowpack to the streams. Due to the coupled nature of the hydrological and biogeochemical cycles in the meadows, it is expected that a change in hydrology will impact biogeochemistry and vice versa. My dissertation research investigated the gaps in our knowledge of the coupled hydrology and carbon cycling of meadow soils, and forges new territory inRead More →

Ph.D. candidate Chelsea Arnold travelled to the State of California Capitol in Sacramento during Graduate Research Advocacy Day on March 12, 2014 Chelsea was one of the two University of California graduate students that were chosen to accompany University of California President Janet Napolitano and Nobel Prize winner Prof. Randy Schekman to meet with California governor Jerry Brown  in his office. This is a great honor and recognition for Chelsea and UC Merced. Congratulations Chelsea and great job being an ambassador for graduate education in the UC system.   Chelsea’s dissertation research was also highlighted as one of the important topics of discussion with lawmakers in the state capitol.Read More →

Asmeret appointed as a new Associate Editor for two academic journals: Biogeochemistry and SOIL (A new Journal from the European Geosciences Union, starting May 2014) Read More →

This year, we have Ph.D. student positions available in UC Merced for work in: (a) a project investigating the effect of fire on soil structure and organic matter dynamics (for more information see UCM student position – fire and agg ), and b) four Ph.D. student positions in the Southern Sierra Critical Zone observatory project in projects spanning hydrology, microbiology, biogeochemistry and geochemistry (for more information see SSCZO student positions ad 2013a_AAB_SCH). Students with a MSc in Soil Science, Hydrology, Geology, or related fields, or candidates with research experience in these areas are strongly encouraged to apply. The application deadline for graduate studies at UC Merced is JanuaryRead More →

Announcements Applications for  graduate study at UC Merced are due mid January every year. Please contact Asmeret before submitting an application to join our group. Applications for a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship are due typically in November of each year. Please contact Asmeret as soon as possible if you are interested in submitting an application to join our group. We occasionally have openings for postdoctoral scholar, research associate, technician or undergraduate student positions. To inquire about possibility for joining our group please send an e-mail with your CV and brief description of your research interests to Prof. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe at aaberhe(at)ucmerced(dot)edu.Read More →