Undergraduate Courses

Fundamentals of Soil Science (ESS 170/170L)

Brady and WeilESS 170 is a 3 credit lecture course (that is concurrently offered with ESS 170L, a 1 credit lab course) that examines the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils that influence terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. Discussed topics include processes that control soil formation, evolution, development and chemical properties. Particular emphasis is placed on the quantitative descriptions of energy nutrient and contaminant fluxes into, out of and through soils.

ESS 170/170L includes two field trips and training on a range of traditional and advanced techniques of characterizing soils both in the field and in the laboratory.

Taught in the spring semester odd years.

Critical Zone Science (ESS 179)

czone_chorover_et_al_catalina_jemez_czo_2_900_1042_80autoThe Earth’s Critical Zone (CZ) is defined as the Earth’s outer layer from vegetation canopy to the soil and groundwater that sustains human life. Multiple processes (climate, biology, geology, topography, disturbances) work together to form and evolve the CZ. The introductory portion of this course provides participants with the framework and tools for considering Critical Zone (CZ) science. The CZ is introduced by stressing the importance and overall functioning of the CZ, and the temporal and spatial scales at which the CZ may be studied.

ESS 10 includes a field trip to the National Science Foundation funded site of the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory (SSCZO).
Taught fall semesters on even years.

Earth Resources and Society (ESS 10)

untitledESS 10 discusses the materials and resources our planet supplies to societies, and the environmental consequences that result from consumption. We will examine the origin and use of food, water, energy, and mineral resources, and consider challenges to management and sustainability.

ESS 10 includes a field trip to the UC Merced Solar Farm and discussions on UC Merced’s sustainability initiative and triple zero commitment  to eventually consume zero net energy, and produce zero waste and zero net emissions.

Taught every spring semester (after 2017 taught by Sylvain Masclin)

Graduate Courses

Dynamics of Organic Matter in Soils and Sediments (ES 222)

In this graduate course we discuss foundations of important concepts that explain major processes that organic matter undergoes from synthesis and along the decomposition sequence. We discuss the biogeochemical cycles of C and N, and latest advances in the field using case studies discussing the implications of a number of important variables including fire, invasive species, erosion, and climate change on storage and stability of organic matter. As part of the course requirements, students produce a collaborative meta-analysis term paper that was aimed at teaching them to work in teams with other scientists, and to prepare them to conduct synthesis of available data for their dissertation topics
Taught in the fall semester odd years.

Grad Professional Development Seminar for graduate students

[Offered as: COGS 290, EECS 289, ES 290, MBSE 290, ME 290, PHYS 290, POLI 289, PSY 290, QSB 290 ]
This one-credit seminar is designed to provide graduate students skills and knowledge they need for making the transition to successful post-graduate careers. The seminar will expose students to diversity of career options. We will discuss the role of postdoctoral positions among disciplines, the importance of networking, managing your online presence, and differences between mentors and sponsors. Participants will learn about preparation of application packets for post-graduate careers, interviewing and negotiating skills, ethics, and practice time-management skills. As part of this course, students will produce a working resume or CV and professional website.

Soil Science (ES 292)

Lectures are co-convened with ESS 170. See syllabus for additional requirements for completion of graduate credits. Note, graduate students are also required to sign up for the lab, ESS 170L.
Taught in the spring semester odd years. Graduate version of the class discontinued in 2017.

Special convened/independent courses (ES 295)

Soil Chemistry, Biogeochemistry, Wetland Biogeochemistry

For more information please contact Prof. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe at aaberhe(at)ucmerced(dot)edu.

Teaching soil science in pictures