Global Wildlife Decline Driving Slave Labor, Organized Crime

A child grabs sleep wherever possible after a long day of labor in West Africa’s struggling fishery.

BERKELEY —Global decline of wildlife populations is driving increases in violent conflicts, organized crime and child labor around the world, according to a new policy paper led by UC Berkeley researchers. The authors call for biologists to join forces with experts such as economists, political … [Read more...]

Calling on the Community: Detecting and Managing Sudden Oak Death

Two students collecting bay leaf data.

Sudden Oak Death (SOD), a serious exotic disease, is threatening the survival of tanoak and several oak species in California. Currently SOD is found in the wildlands of 14 coastal California counties, from Monterey to Humboldt. While patchy in distribution, with each passing year, the swath of … [Read more...]

Professor Lynn Huntsinger Recognized for Outstanding Mentorship of GSIs

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ESPM is proud to announce that the 2013-2014 Berkeley Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of GSIs went to Professor Lynn Huntsinger! Each spring, graduate students are invited to nominate faculty members for the Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of GSIs. Typically each nomination is … [Read more...]

Sudden Oak Death Drying Up With Drought

Infected California Bay Laurel Leaves

By Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle The California drought is helping save the state's signature tree - the mighty oak - by slowing down the spread of the plague-like disease scientists call sudden oak death. The exceptionally dry conditions have drastically reduced the number of … [Read more...]

Postcards from the Field: ESPM Research Around the World

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Spreading the Buzz About Native Bees

An image of Gordon Frankie and Volunteer

In honor of National Pollinator Week, Bay Nature's Beth Slatkin recently interviewed Professor Gordon Frankie on the status of California's diverse and productive pollinators. Read an excerpt of the interview here, and check out the full article on the Bay Nature site. For those not familiar … [Read more...]

Central Valley Sees Big Drop in Wintertime Fog Needed for Fruit and Nut Crops

Foggy orchard in California's Central Valley. Photo: iStockphoto

Berkeley — California's winter tule fog - hated by drivers, but needed by fruit and nut trees - has declined dramatically over the past three decades, raising a red flag for the state's multibillion dollar agricultural industry, according to researchers at the University of California, … [Read more...]

Top Graduating Senior Makes a Splash in Water Policy

Image from Rebecca Peters

BERKELEY —Rebecca Peters’ IQ score measured so low in fourth grade that her school did not deem her to be college material. Her parents didn’t buy it, and neither did she. Her great-grandmother, grandmother and mother had all attended the University of California, Berkeley. Unlike her … [Read more...]

Gradfest 2014 Honors Students and Faculty

Students and faculty and gradfest.

The Department’s annual Graduate Research Symposium, also known as The ESPM GradFest Symposium, celebrates and showcases graduate student research. This year’s day-long GradFest took place on Friday May 2, at the David Brower Center and included finishing talks from graduating PhD students, a guest … [Read more...]

Professor Carolyn Finney receives the 2014 Graduate Student Association’s Faculty Mentor Award

Image of Carolyn Finney and Graduate Students

The 2014 ESPM Graduate Student Association’s (GSA) Faculty Mentor Award was recently given to Professor Carolyn Finney for her commitment to mentoring and helping graduate and undergraduate students succeed. In announcing the award during the GradFest Symposium in early May, GSA president … [Read more...]

ESPM Distinguished Service Award Goes to Guillermo Douglass-Jaimes

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At the 2014 Gradfest, the ESPM Graduate Student Association honored PhD student Guillermo Douglass-Jaimes as the second ever recipient of the ESPM Distinguished Service Award. This award officially recognizes a member of the ESPM community who has worked hard to improve the department. Guillermo … [Read more...]

A Special Anniversary Interview

Graduate students conducting soil research as part of Professor Ron Amundson's ESPM 122 class, Field Studies of Soil Formation.

Two years after our Earth Day interview, planet Earth returns to interview ESPM on the occasion of our 20th anniversary! Earth: The rest of the planets have been concerned and are asking me, “What’s up with your complexion?” I keep telling them I’ve had an outbreak of Homo sapiens, but they … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: May 9, 2014

Recent Awards! • Congratulations to Inez Fung, who last week learned she has been elected to the American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the USA, one founded by Benjamin Franklin. • Congratulations to Stephanie Carlson for being named a Rose Hills 2014 Innovator! • The … [Read more...]

20th Anniversary Photo Contest Winners Announced!

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As part of ESPM's 20th Anniversary celebration we invited ESPM community members to submit photos in four categories: Research, ESPM in Action, Community, and ESPM's History. The group of photos submitted represent the diversity of our activities, from research in the field to departmental events. … [Read more...]

2014 Gradfest Symposium Keynote Lecture: Poet Robert Hass

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Gradfest Keynote Lecture | May 2, 2104 "Wildlands, Gardens, and the Metaphysics of the Glimpse: Thinking About Nature in the Anthropocene" The ESPM Graduate Research Symposium (Gradfest) is an annual event in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management that celebrates and … [Read more...]

Study Shows How Brazilian Cattle Ranching Policies Can Reduce Deforestation

Policies supporting better use of pasture could help alleviate the pressure for deforestation in Brazil (iStock)

BERKELEY — There is a higher cost to steaks and hamburgers than what is reflected on the price tags at grocery stores and restaurants. Producing food – and beef, in particular – is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, which are projected to grow as rising incomes in emerging economies … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: April 25, 2014

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Earth Week Honors We congratulate Inez Fung on her election this week to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in addition for her efforts to communicate, to a broad community, what we do understand and anticipate about climate change. What a well deserved award … [Read more...]

Inez Fung Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

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ESPM Professor Inez Fung is one of seven UC Berkeley faculty and researchers recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' class of 2014! The new members for 2014, the academy said in a release, are 204 of “the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists and … [Read more...]

Grad Student Misha Leong Curates Exhibit for Oakland Museum of California

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Flying out of Oakland anytime soon? If so, check in a little early and witness the work of ESPM Graduate Student Misha Leong in action! Misha collaborated with the Oakland Museum of California as guest curator of Bees, an off-site exhibition on view in the Oakland International Airport. The exhibit … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: April 18, 2014

Today is our annual paean to Earth, which we conduct in anticipation of Earth Day on Tuesday. To celebrate, and test your Earth IQ, we provide the following quiz. The first 3 people who correctly answer all three questions (send your reply to me, if you hit “reply all” you will be disqualified) will … [Read more...]

Gradfest: May 2, 2014

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This year's annual Graduate Research Symposium (May 2 at the David Brower Center) is not to be missed! The day's events will feature research presentations from graduating students, a guest lecture by Jessica Weir (University of Western Sydney), a keynote presentation by poet Robert Hass, and … [Read more...]

Will It Live or Die? Researchers Develop Biomarkers to Manage Impact of Sudden Oak Death

Image of a tree killed by sudden oak death syndrome.

ESPM's Brice McPherson and David Wood, working with researchers from The Ohio State University, have made exciting progress towards protecting forests from sudden oak death disease. This press release from the OSU outlines their findings. COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State University researchers … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: April 11, 2014

One of the students in ESPM 10, Joanna Saunders,  a member of Student Environment Resource Center (SERC), located on the third floor of Mulford, just published a nice blog about ESPM’s “20 year experiment.” Read it at on the SERC … [Read more...]

2014 Hans Jenny Memorial Lecture: Chris Mooney on “The Science of Why We Don’t Believe in Science”

Image of Chris Mooney speaking at UC Berkeley

Journalist Chris Mooney's lecture discusses the science of science denial at play in American culture. Mooney is the author of four books, including Unscientific America and the New York Times bestseller The Republican War on Science. He is a contributing writer at Mother Jones and also hosts … [Read more...]

Video: ESPM Fungi Foragers

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Check out this video about mushroom foraging in the Bay Area, featuring ESPM graduate student Sydney Glassman and ESPM professor Tom Bruns. If you'd like to try mushroom foraging yourself, visit The Mushroom Observer or consider enrolling in Professor Bruns' course: PMB 113: California Mushrooms. … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: March 22, 2014

The 2014 Hans Jenny Lecture by journalist Chris Mooney is quickly approaching! Here's an outline of the schedule: Wednesday, April 2 Lecture: "The Science of Why We Don't Believe in Science" 7:00 pm | International House, Chevron Auditorium Thursday, April 3 Special ESPM Colloquium: A … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: March 14, 2014

Graduate Student Extension is Here! Whatever we wish to call them: GSE's. GSR^e, etc., we are now the first to provide research funding for graduate students who will work with a professor or a cooperative extension specialist on a project with an outreach and extension component. I want to … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: March 7, 2014

Thanks to all of ESPM for the wonderful turnout for all of our job talks in Sustainable Agriculture and Ecoinformatics (I now have at least a working idea what Ecoinformatics is all about!). Next Thursday will again be our "regular" ESPM Seminar, with one of our featured Anthropocene lecturers: … [Read more...]

California’s Endangered Serengeti: Drought Could Wipe Out Key Wildlife on Carrizo Plain

Kit foxes on the Carrizo Plain.

The recent rains aside, the drought bedeviling California still is expected to be the worst in 500 years and will change the way Californians live and work—but not just the people. It’s going to be pretty hard cheese, as Evelyn Waugh might have said, on the critters as well. The state’s wild … [Read more...]

Join the 20th Anniversary Photo Contest!

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Help celebrate ESPM’s 20th anniversary by entering our photo contest! Submit your photos for the categories of "ESPM's History," "ESPM in Action," "Your Research," and "Community" for a chance to win ESPM gear and coffee gift cards. Deadline for submissions is Tuesday, April 22, 2014. Visit the … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: February 14, 2014

Painting of Eden

ESPM GradFest ‘14 Five weeks into the semester - maybe it can’t come to an end soon enough (though I am wondering what has happened to the academic year). With that in mind, GradFest 2014 planning is fully underway! With the on-going renovation of lower Sproul, we will once again patronize the … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: January 31, 2014

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ESPM Accomplishments and Random Notes In November, Inez Fung took a trip to Antarctica - and blogged for her students in ESPM15. Inez is a member of the National Science Board, and went to Antarctica to get first hand knowledge of the NSF Antarctic Program. See Inez’s blog and photo … [Read more...]

2014 is ESPM’s 20th Anniversary Year!

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As the spring 2014 semester commences, we proudly launch a year-long celebration of the 20th anniversary of the formation of the department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. We hope you'll join us for a number of special activities celebrating this milestone! First, our … [Read more...]

PhD Student Sara Knox Receives Award from the American Geophysical Union

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Congratulations to Sara Knox, who received a 2013 Outstanding Student Paper Award from the American Geophysical Union! The Outstanding Student Paper Awards (OSPAs) promote, recognize and reward undergraduate, Master’s and PhD students for quality research in the geophysical sciences. Each year, … [Read more...]

Eel River Observatory seeks clues to watershed’s future

A segment of the Eel River as it flows through the Angelo Coast Range Reserve in northern California. Christopher Woodcock photo.

BERKELEY — UC Berkeley scientists will receive $4,900,000 over the next five years to study the nearly 10,000 square kilometer Eel River watershed in Northern California and how its vegetation, geology and topography affect water flow all the way to the Pacific Ocean. What the researchers uncover … [Read more...]

Reconstructing the Global Food System

Image of fruits and vegetables.

The goal of the new Berkeley Food Institute is nothing less than transforming the way the world grows, processes, distributes, and consumes food. Co-directed by ESPM faculty Claire Kremen and Alastair Iles, the BFI is a research and policy institute dedicated to studying and galvanizing the … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: December 20, 2013

sunrise

As we careen into the various holidays - I offer this entirely unscientific suggestion (though there are lots of web sites out there that echo this),  that it will make you much happier in the midst of this emotional/stressful milieu if you give generously to people and institutions that need it … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: December 6, 2013

At a recent ESPM coffee, I met one of our visitors: Ruth Doyle, an Irish native who is a visiting scholar with Alistair Iles. Ruth is part of the Irish "CONSENSUS" project, examining creative solutions for household consumption in Ireland and everywhere (including us!). I want to introduce her work … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: November 15, 2013

Kudos to the ESPM leaders of the Food Institute, particularly in the glow of the Albright Lecture this past evening. The Institute is a institution that has grown out of a tiny “incubator grant” just a few years ago. At the reception last night, I enjoyed a long conversation with Matt Cline, … [Read more...]

Professor Claire Kremen joins the California Academy of Sciences as an elected fellow

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Environmental science, policy, and management professor, Claire Kremen, along with two other Berkeley professors, join the California Academy of Sciences. To gain this lifelong title, each professor was nominated by their colleagues and  selected by the Board of Trustees. Read the full article: 4 … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: November 1, 2013

berkeley lab

Last week's rumination on cemeteries dovetails nicely (well, work with me on this) into a very interesting feature article about our own Adjunct Professor Gary Anderson of LBNL. Gary is working on methods to divert sewage streams into compost for agriculture. This fits the LBNL Department of Energy … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: October 25, 2013

satellite

  We've been to the moon, we've found stream gravels on Mars, but what about Earth? Our own Scott Stephens and Maggi Kelly are part of a multidisciplinary team that have designed and proposed the FEUGO (fire urgency estimator in geosynchronous orbit) satellite to detect early wildfires on … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: October 18, 2013.

CusterBlackHillsWagonTrain01

It's tough being a forest these days: Too much wood: Don't light a match when traveling with Scott Stephens in Sierran forests. The recent news article shows that the Rim Fire was waiting to happen - after years of fire suppression. See how open the western forests were a bit more than a century … [Read more...]

Got calcium? Mineral key to restoring acid rain-damaged forests

Acid deposition has altered the calcium cycle in watersheds in the Northeastern United States in ways that are similar to changes observed at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. The bar graphs in the photos show the differences in calcium (Ca) levels between 1950, bars on the left, and 1995. (Graphic courtesy of Hubbard Brook Research Foundation)

BERKELEY — Calcium can do much more than strengthen bones. The mineral is a critical nutrient for healthy tree growth, and new research shows that adding it to the soil helps reverse the decades-long decline of forests ailing from the effects of acid rain. The paper, published today … [Read more...]

Professor Scott Stephens to speak at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco

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Professor Scott Stephens will be speaking at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco in October about the recent Yosemite Rim Fire and how to improve fire policy. For more information, visit the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco Event Page   … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: September 13, 2013

FOG and US The ESPM seminar series began with an interesting presentation by Todd Dawson, who not only fulfilled the fall seminar theme (talks by our own faculty), but looked ahead to the spring theme of the Anthropocene. The coastal redwoods of California live in a unique, and narrow, habitat … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: September 6, 2013

We are collectively pleased to announce that Dr. Ann Thrupp will begin on Monday as the Executive Director of the new Berkeley Sustainable Food Institute. Ann has an incredibly rich background and set of experiences that I am sure she will bring to our Berkeley institute. Ann was, most recently, the … [Read more...]

ESPM Faculty Team receives Presidential Chair Fellows Curriculum Enrichment Grant

Students learning in the field

A team led by ESPM Faculty has received a  Presidential Chair Fellows Curriculum Enrichment Grant. The grant  provides the opportunity for faculty to transform core areas of the undergraduate curriculum. Professors involved with the project include Matthew D. Potts (Lead), Inez Fung, Mary … [Read more...]

What Can We Learn From the Rim Fire?

Prescribed fire in the UC Blodgett Forest Research Station. Photo by Scott Stephens

Professor Scott Stephens was a featured expert on public radio KQED's Forum to discuss the Rim Fire that has been raging near Yosemite National Park since August 17. Listen to the program: Learn more … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: August 30, 2013

Best wishes to everyone on the start of the Fall semester, and a special welcome to the new cohort of ESPM graduate students. Welcome to Berkeley! I apologize for being unable to attend your orientation session on Monday, and to conduct my usual "How Berkeley are you?" contest. Thus, to the first … [Read more...]

Professor Rachel Morello-Frosch talks about how climate change hits disadvantaged the hardest

Professor Rachel Morello-Frosch was one of the researchers for this study.

Low-income neighborhoods are more often exposed to poor environmental quality when compared to wealthier communities, and scientists are saying this gap will increase as climate change is more widely felt. ESPM Professor Rachel Morello-Frosch explains on the Switzer Network News. … [Read more...]

Eugene Hilgard talks to us on the year of his 180th birthday

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On the anniversary of his 180th birthday, the ESPM newsletter catches up with Eugene Hilgard to talk about his legacy and other topical matters. How have you been? Well, other than being dead, I’ve been doing quite well. It’s been a wonderful interlude to visit the campus again. My, much has … [Read more...]

Marketplace: Will U.S. clothing firms change on Bangladesh?

Photo courtesy of Flickr member  jankie, used with Creative Commons license

Associate environmental science, policy, and management professor Dara O’Rourke, a labor policy specialist, weighs in on a group of US clothing manufacturers' plan to create a $50 million fund to improve factory safety in Bangladesh. He believes that amount of money is not much, considering the $20 … [Read more...]

Minorities more likely to live in ‘urban heat islands,’ study finds

Courtesy of Flickr user channone; used with Creative Commons license

Comparing satellite images and Census 2000 data, a study co-authored by public health and environmental science professor Rachel Morello-Frosch has found that minorities are more likely to live in "urban heat islands" and are most at risk during heat waves. As a result, these populations will likely … [Read more...]

ESPM ranked number one environmental sciences program in QS World Universities Rankings

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QS is an online journal that publishes rankings of universities and programs worldwide. Their recent survey ranked ESPM number one for environmental sciences. Go to rankings … [Read more...]

New crypt-keeping beetle species discovered on Pacific island

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Peter Oboyski, senior museum scientist at Berkeley’s Essig Museum of Entomology and ESPM alumnus, comments on the discovery, in Hawaii's Bishop Museum, of a new species of beetle. Given the enormous number of insect specimens collected during scientific expeditions, it’s not unusual to discover new … [Read more...]

Scientists Undertake Extensive Field Campaign to Study U.S. Southeast Atmospheric Chemistry

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In the largest U.S. atmospheric chemistry field project in decades, researchers sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other organizations are working to study tiny particles and gases in the air over the southeastern United States. The study looks at the chemical reactions … [Read more...]

Help wanted: Public needed to uncover clues in natural history collections

ESPM graduate student Joan Ball holds a display of specimens at the Essig Museum of Entomology. (Marek Jacubowski photo)

BERKELEY — Like bugs? Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at natural history museums? Interested in helping scientists understand our changing environment? These are just some of the reasons why people should join a project led by UC Berkeley’s Essig Museum of Entomology. Through … [Read more...]

The 2013 Hans Jenny Lecture: Noah’s Flood & the History of the Earth

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Dr. Montgomery is a Professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he leads the Geomorphological Research Group and is a member of the Quaternary Research Center. His research addresses the evolution of topography and the influence of geomorphological … [Read more...]

ESPM Team Wins First Place at Big Ideas@Berkeley, Improving Student Life Category

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Big Ideas@Berkeley is an annual innovation contest which aims to provide support, funds, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of students on campus. A team led by ESPM graduate and undergraduate students took first place in the category of Improving Student Life and third place in the … [Read more...]

Conservation Resource Management Student Wins Stronach Research Prize

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Conservation and Resource Studies major Nathan Bickart is one of seven graduating seniors selected as recipients of the 2013 Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize, it was announced this week. Bickart, a music minor, was given an award to partner with local residents of Richmond and San Pablo to … [Read more...]

2013 GradFest Symposium Keynote Speaker: Malik Yakini

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The 2013 GradFest Symposium's Keynote Speaker Malik Yakini, May 3, 2013 Feature photo courtesy of Michigan Night Light … [Read more...]

Professor John Battles receives the 2013 Graduate Student Association’s Faculty Mentor Award

John Battles accepting the 2013 GSA Faculty Mentor Award from president Lauren Hallet

The 2013 ESPM Graduate Student Association's (GSA) Faculty Mentor Award was given to Professor John Battles for his commitment to mentoring and helping graduate and undergraduate students succeed. In announcing the award during the GradFest Symposium in early May, GSA president Lauren Hallet gave … [Read more...]

First ESPM Distinguished Service Award given to PhD Candidate Brad Balukjian

Brad Balukjian received the Inaugural ESPM Distinguished Service Award during GradFest 2013, Photo courtesy of Katy Seto

The ESPM Graduate Student Association honored graduating PhD student Brad Balukjian with the newly created ESPM Distinguished Service Award. This award officially recognizes a member of the ESPM community who has worked hard to improve the department. Brad was nominated for the award with the … [Read more...]

GradFest: A Celebration of Graduate Student Research

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The Department's annual Graduate Research Symposium, also known as The ESPM GradFest Symposium, celebrates and showcases graduate student research. This year's day-long GradFest took place on Friday May 3, at the David Brower Center and included finishing talks from graduating PhD students. Talks … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: May 10, 2013

We hope to see all of you today at the Jenny Lecture: 3 pm, 159 Mulford. The Rocks Don't Lie is an outstanding book, and Montgomery is an excellent speaker. It promises to be a great way to end the academic year. Don't miss it - and the reception that follows. -- I provide a list of all the … [Read more...]

The Hans Jenny Memorial Lecture: Rocks Don’t Lie: Noah’s Flood and the History of the Earth

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Dr. David Montgomery of the University of Washington will be delivering the annual Hans Jenny Memorial Lecture on Friday, May 10. Dr. Montgomery is a Professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he leads the Geomorphological Research Group and is a … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: May 3, 2013

Today's finale has nothing to do with science, the environment, or academics - just a note to acknowledge the passing of a musical/artistic legend: George Jones, whose funeral was yesterday. I have no idea how many readers know of Jones (the NY Times obituary points out how he was never a cross-over … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: April 26, 2013

We begin today by congratulating Jeff Romm for his recent award for GSI mentoring. Congratulations Jeff! -- Not long now until GRAD FEST 2013. This year at the Brower Center!  See all of you, especially faculty, on May 3 (next Friday). -- As we conclude Earth Week, what better topic to … [Read more...]

Professor Gary Sposito on KGO: Texas blast is example of lax oversight

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By Mark Matthews, ABC Local Station KGO  BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- A soil scientist at U.C. Berkeley says the deadly Texas explosion is another example of a troubling pattern; a lack of proper oversight to ensure public safety. Professor Garrison Sposito is not the only scientist or engineer … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: April 17, 2013

The deluge of all the facets of modern life (taxes, proposals, emails, emails, emails, .....) had caused me to lose track of the pace of the season. However, on Monday, I received a free book from the Heartland Institute, endorsed by the climate change denier Fred Singer, asking me to use the book … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: April 12, 2013

We're holding the Environmental Sciences Senior Thesis Symposium on Sunday, April 21st from 9am-5pm in Mulford, Morgan, and GPB. Stay tuned for specific details. This year we have 69 conference-style 15-minute final thesis presentations in 12 sessions with themes ranging from climate change … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: April 5, 2013

I was visited this week by Mauricio Castillo from SERC, our new ESPM undergraduate environmental partner. He told me of their successful proposal to UCB for a continued funding stream to hire staff for their center - a funding stream with no defined sunset. If you walk up and talk to Mauricio or any … [Read more...]

PhD Student Lauren Hallet wins 2013 Harris Research Instrumentation award

Lauren Hallett

The Grant A. Harris Research Instruments Fellowship provides $5000 worth of Decagon research instruments to students studying any aspect of environmental or geotechnical science. PhD student Lauren Hallet was one of six students who received this year's fellowship for her study on predicting the … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: March 29, 2013

It was a quiet week in Lake .......ESPM. I hope you all had the opportunity to think and catch up (and mostly think) before the final weeks of the semester begin. -- A week without any attendant duties allowed me to (almost) slow my pace of life to the season. For some reason, as I sat down to … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: March 22, 2013

To continue the theme of “less is better”, a Wednesday article in the Chronicle caught my eye: “Why Lent Makes People Happier”, by Jason Marsh of the UCB Greater Good Science Center and Robb Willer of Stanford. First, the article introduced me to a UC organization I had not been aware of: The … [Read more...]

The Student Environmental Resource Center finds a new home in ESPM

Student staff members of SERC: Standing (left to right): Justine Rembac, Noah Puni, Mauricio Castillo, Zen Trenholm, Omead Kohanteb; Seated (left to right): Roberta Giordano, Nolan Pack, Katie Hoffman

Our Environment e-Newsletter, Spring 2013, Volume 2, Issue 1 The Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC) was in a bind. The newly formed group was being forced to move out of their temporary space near the Cal Student Bookstore in order to accommodate the Lower Sproul Hall construction … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: March 15, 2013

The Newsletter returns after a brief staff break. While we were away, Claire Kremen and colleagues published a paper in Science on the importance of wild bees and insects on pollination in agriculture. Mark your calendars for the upcoming two-day conference on: A New Development? The promise and … [Read more...]

The impacts of food production on biodiversity

Photo by Matthew Luskin

This market in Kuala Pilah, Peninsular Malaysia, shows an assortment of locally grown fruits and vegetables.  Matthew Luskin and other Potts' lab students are working on quantifying the biodiversity impacts of producing that food through the Conservation of Biodiversity (CBioD) project. Matthew … [Read more...]

A New Development? A symposium on the promise and politics of provincializing experts, models, and knowledge in the 21st century

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A symposium being held on April 5 - 6, and co-sponsored by the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management  invites scholars to reflect on the dynamics of science, technology and expertise in international development, domestic development practices, and how these two … [Read more...]

Palm plantations and tropical deforestation

Photo by Matthew Luskin

Tropical forests now cover less than 5% of the world’s surface but are home to the majority of species on land. The staggering expansion of oil palm agriculture has become a primary threat to biodiversity by fueling tropical deforestation in Southeast Asia. To date, scientific research and public … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: March 1, 2013

What happened to the first two months of the year!??!! - other than me aging? I guess the only good aspect of this rapid passage of time is that baseball spring training is now in full swing, and the annual renewal of summer is not far away. -- Our Environmental Geochemistry search is nearing … [Read more...]

Professor Claire Kremen featured in NPR and LA Times

The California native bee species Bombus vosnesenskii, the yellow-faced bumble bee, forages on almond flowers that are located right next to rangelands habitat. (Alexandra Maria-Klein photo)

A recent study in Science magazine co-authored by Claire Kremen, highlights the importance of wild insects and bees in pollination and agriculture. As reported on NPR: A huge collaboration of bee researchers, from more than a dozen countries, looked at how pollination happens in dozens of … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: February 22, 2013

Yesterday, I spoke at an early morning meeting, in Marin county, to a group of retired businessmen/women, professionals, and academics. These folks have formed a small group known as the “Renaissance Breakfast Club”. It is quite an impressive and engaging group of people interested in dialogue and … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: February 15, 2013

The shooting star on our newsletter took on a more sobering dimension today with the 11 ton meteorite that hit /exploded over Russia . Fortunately no fatalities, but a sharp reminder of our small planet's vulnerability. Written by Ron Amundson, Environmental Musings are excerpts from the … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: February 8, 2013

Rachel Morello-Frosch and her colleagues were featured in the SF Chronicle this week for their recent work on the inverse linkage between inhalable particles in the air and birth weight (Air Pollution Linked to Low Birth Weight, Wednesday Feb. 6). These particles are produced by cars, factories and … [Read more...]

Air pollution linked to low birth weight

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By Stephanie M. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle Mothers who breathe the kind of pollution emitted by vehicles, coal power plants and factories are significantly likelier to give birth to underweight children than mothers living in less polluted areas, according to international findings … [Read more...]

New AIDS research uses models to see through lies about sex, inform HIV policy

Sometimes reaching out and taking someone's hand is the beginnin

The increasingly couples-focused public-health policy for AIDS prevention in sub-Saharan Africa underestimates the role that cheating spouses play in transmitting the virus, according to a new study from the University of California, Berkeley. While cheating spouses are a known avenue for HIV … [Read more...]

Graduate student Scott Fortmann-Roe creates interactive model-sharing site

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So you want to lose weight. You could try Weight Watchers, or you could take the unconventional route and create a prediction model for weight loss that factors in calorie reduction and your metabolism in order to reach your desired weight. That is just one way researchers might make use … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: February 1, 2013

Yesterday's ESPM seminar by Jennifer Talbot (post doctoral scholar at Stanford) continued our foray into the workings of soil - this time focusing on the role of fungi as a key mediator of the cycling and decomposition of plant compounds (enjoyed by a large and enthusiastic audience of graduate … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: January 25, 2013

In yesterday's ESPM seminar, Gary Sposito referred to a recent Science article that called soils "uncharismatic" (I think that was the adjective) (but to be fair, the author of that article noted they were important). This is a reminder of Galileo's famous treatise on the validity of the Copernican … [Read more...]

Persistent methodological flaw undermines biodiversity conservation in tropical forests

Logging in a tropical forest. Photo courtesy of Ben Ramage

What is the role of logging in tropical forests? How is biodiversity affected by this logging? The answers differ and are controversial among ecologists, environmentalists, and policymakers, and these disagreements have implications for the conservation of biodiversity. A new paper by … [Read more...]

Beyond manifesto: How to change the food system

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Mark Bittman, cookbook author and New York Times food writer, used the occasion of New Year’s Day to throw down the gauntlet for real and permanent change to the U.S. agricultural system. “We must figure out a way to un-invent this food system,” he says in a Times opinion column. He likens the scale … [Read more...]

Professor Garrison Sposito gives the prestigious Langbein Lecture at the AGU Fall Meeting

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Professor Garrison Sposito delivered the prestigious Langbein Lecture, the named lecture of the hydrology section of the annual Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The Walter B. Langbein Lecture is awarded and presented annually. Professor Sposito received the Lectureship for his … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: December 7, 2012

The annual AGU meetings overflow with information and ideas. Yet, one theme that seems to continue to gain traction at these meetings - of largely basic scientists - is the need to tackle and solve problems of societal relevance. From past talks like one by Al Gore on climate change, to Jane … [Read more...]

Alumnus David Warner on resilient building practices, the Human Needs Project, Metallica, and giving back to Cal

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Our Environment e-Newsletter, Fall / Winter 2012, Volume 1, Issue 4 This month, we caught up with one of our distinguished alumni, David Warner (Conservation & Resource Studies, 1976), founder and owner of Redhorse Constructors. He also acts as a technical advisor for Sir Richard Branson’s … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: November 30, 2012

It is a week rich in "Our Environment" news and events (and apologies for a Thursday evening delivery): This week, the American Geophysical Union Meetings will be held in SF. Our own Gary Sposito is being honored with his presentation of the Langhiem lecture in Hydrology: "The Soil Underfoot: … [Read more...]

PhD Student Kendra Klein talks about healthy food in health care

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PhD student Kendra Klein, named a Switzer Fellow in 2011, sat down with the Switzer Network News to talk about her work in bringing healthy food and sustainable food production systems into hospitals. Read the interview on the Switzer Network website … [Read more...]

Scientists look to Hawaii’s bugs for clues to origins of biodiversity

One species of spider (Tetragnatha anuenue) on the Big Island of Hawaii shows an extraordinary diversity of color, that is matched by genetic variability. This variability seems to serve as the raw material for subsequent divergence and formation of new species over the course of tens or hundreds of thousand years. Photos by Rosemary Gillespie.

BERKELEY — To Rosemary Gillespie, the Hawaiian Islands are a unique and ongoing series of evolutionary and ecological experiments. As each volcano rises above the waves, it is colonized by life from neighboring volcanoes and develops its own flora and fauna. … [Read more...]

Eating estrogenic plants alters hormones in monkeys, may increase aggression and sex

A red colobus monkey prepares to munch on the bark of Eucalyptus grandis , a non-native estrogenic tree in Kibale National Park. Greater consumption of estrogenic plants is linked to altered hormone levels and changes in behavior, finds a new UC Berkeley-led study. (Julie Kearney Wasserman photo)

BERKELEY — Eating certain veggies not only supplies key nutrients, it may also influence hormone levels and behaviors such as aggression and sexual activity, says a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, that could shed light on the role of diet in human … [Read more...]

Professor Inez Fung appointed by President Obama to the National Science Board

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President Obama has announced that he will appoint Professor Inez Fung to the National Science Board, the governing body of the National Science Foundation. Members of this board are also policy advisors to the President and Congress. Congratulations Professor Fung! Read the press release … [Read more...]

Professor Peng Gong on the future of science in China

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Written by Peng Gong for Nature This is a big month for the world’s superpowers. The United States elects its next president this week, and the following week brings the first change in China’s leadership for ten years. Since 1989, the political bureau (politburo) of the Communist Party of … [Read more...]

Professor Céline Pallud and other researchers team up with the community to eliminate toxic chemicals

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Written by Virgie Hoban for The Daily Cal UC Berkeley researchers are teaming up with local organizations to plant thousands of ferns in a South Berkeley lot in an effort to extricate toxic chemicals and eventually create a new haven of green gardens. The project, spearheaded by the campus … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: November 9, 2012

This week, post-election, I was reviewing what some pundits think the election might mean for the environment. I eventually decided to look at our own website and catch up with what our faculty and students are doing, and would continue to do no, matter who was elected: Lynn Huntsinger … [Read more...]

Professor Lynn Huntsinger provides expertise on NPR radio program ‘Forum with Michael Krasny’

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The Williamson Act of 1965 protected 15 million acres of open space by offering tax relief to ranch and farm owners who preserve their land. According to a new study by UC Davis researchers, recent cuts to state funding are putting 20 percent of California's rangeland at risk for … [Read more...]

Professor Wayne Getz discusses global warming tipping points with Dr. Helen Caldicott

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Dr. Helen Caldicott, renowned anti-nuclear advocate, recently featured Wayne Getz on her weekly audio program, If You Love This Planet. Though the interview was recorded in June, they touched on important points relevant to the recent Hurricane Sandy, which caused unprecedented destruction in the … [Read more...]

Urban Ag Students Turn Neglected Yards into Gardens

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Students in Professor Miguel Altieri’s Urban Agriculture class showed off their class-community partnership this Saturday (Oct. 27) at an “Open Field Day” event for students and affiliated community members, touring verdant, bountiful gardens where empty lots, many laden with trash and toxic … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: November 2, 2012

Thanks to Erin Condit-Bergren for alerting us to All Souls Day - which is actually today (yesterday was All Saints Day)! I had never examined the origins of the holiday, so last night I did some web browsing. What I found interesting, especially as we near the return to standard time, is that it is … [Read more...]

Facing the Climate Gap: a new report showcases the work of community-based organizations in dealing with the ‘climate gap’

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A new report co-authored by ESPM graduate student Ellen Kersten, professor Rachel Morello-Frosch, and collaborators at USC and Columbia documents case studies that highlight the work of community-based organizations in California dealing with the “climate gap” – the disproportionate burden of … [Read more...]

Professors Gillespie, Harte, and O’Grady Awarded Large NSF Biodiversity Grant

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ESPM professors Rosemary Gillespie, John Harte, and Patrick O'Grady were recently awarded a large grant by the National Science Foundation. The grant is part of a multi-faceted NSF program known as Dimensions of Biodiversity, a program which will investigate lesser-known aspects of Earth's … [Read more...]

A New Prescription for the Local Food Movement

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Written by Kendra Klein for The Nation At dawn, at the loading dock behind the kitchen at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital of Ann Arbor, Michigan, small lift loaders and handcarts trundle boxes from food trucks to storage rooms.  The perishables go straight to immense walk-in refrigerators packed with … [Read more...]

PhD Student Esther Conrad Named 2012 Switzer Fellow

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PhD student Esther Conrad was among twenty environmental scholars to receive the prestigious Switzer Environmental Fellowship for her work on water resources issues. The fellowship is awarded annually by the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation to recognize achievements of environmental leaders … [Read more...]

Sustainability Award Goes to Recent ESPM Graduate

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A recent UC Berkeley graduate has won a sustainability research award from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for her senior thesis calculating the campus’s greenhouse gas emissions based on its entire supply chain of goods and services. Kelley … [Read more...]

Air pollution study clears the air on diesel versus gas emissions

Diesel exhaust contributes more to a component of smog than gasoline-fueled cars, according to a new UC Berkeley study.

BERKELEY — Are gasoline-fueled cars or large diesel trucks the bigger source of secondary organic aerosol (SOA), a major component of smog? UC Berkeley researchers have stepped into this debate with a new study that says diesel exhaust contributes 15 times more than gas emissions per liter of fuel … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: October 12, 2012

Today is the day, 520 years ago, that Columbus landed in the New World, forever changing the demography and environment of this portion of the planet (and improving European cuisine). As I have suggested before, the book 1491 by Charles Mann sets out the profound changes this event eventually (and … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: October 5, 2012

Environmental News: Elinor Ostrom, the only woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, died in June. Professor Ostrom, a member of the faculty of the University of Indiana, was a social scientist by training (yes, Nancy). Ostrom was the recipient of the award along with Oliver Williamson, for their … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: September 28, 2012

In 1877, the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli observed linear features on the Martian surface that he called canali, a term that broadly means "channel". Of course, the translation to English (canal) led to speculation and fiction probably beyond what Schiaparelli intended. Yesterday, … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: September 21, 2012

Scientists and educators are, of course, part of the what a presidential candidate has recently referred to as the "47%" who are dependent on government support. How do we describe to the 100% the importance to our nation of what may, on the surface, sometimes appear to be esoteric scholarship? I … [Read more...]

CNR Dean Gilless outlines new plans for Gill Tract

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BERKELEY —  On Tuesday night (Sept. 18), Keith Gilless, dean of the College of Natural Resources, presented the Albany City Council with a progress report on new academic programs related to diversified farming, and their potential impact on the Gill Tract growing grounds. This open letter was … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: September 14, 2012

Tomorrow will be (as most know) the grand re-opening of Memorial Stadium (staff tickets are still (?) available for $10, and a limited number of promotional tickets are available for $19). In the grand Berkeley tradition, of course, the project was not without controversy. It is amusing to know … [Read more...]

The sound of air pollution: PhD student Gabriel Isaacman creates soundscapes from smog

Oakland's Caldecott Tunnel (allaboutgeorge/Flickr)

Written by Aaraon Reuben and Gabriel Isaacman for The Atlantic In the flat lands of California's Central Valley, oil pumps obscured by waving lines of fuel-richened air dip and rise on the horizon. Two hundred miles to the north and west, aging eighteen-wheelers pound through an urban … [Read more...]

Environmental Musings: September 7, 2012

Last Friday was the memorial service for Neil Armstrong. As much as I am captivated by the present Mars missions (soil is, of course, a big part of the Mars story), the Apollo missions seem more and more remarkable as time passes - maybe the greatest human adventure of all time. I pass along to you … [Read more...]

Wildfire Smoke Linked to Lower Birth Weights

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Pregnant women exposed to wildfire smoke during Southern California’s epic 2003 fire season had babies with lower birth weights, UC Berkeley researchers have found. The scientists examined birth records in areas affected by smoke from seven fires — including the Old Fire that burned across the … [Read more...]

Green Chemistry Wins $3.4 Million Training Grant

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Grad students encouraged to apply for funding. The Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry was awarded $3.4 million to train Ph.D. students in the principles of green chemistry and the design of clean-energy technologies, UC Berkeley's College of Chemistry announced today (August 29). The grant … [Read more...]

Joanna Hsu tells us about meeting the Secretary of Energy, her work with a West Oakland food market, and her advice to incoming graduate students

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Our Environment e-Newsletter, Summer 2012, Volume 1, Issue 3 In this issue, we interview second-year graduate student Joanna Hsu, of the Suding Lab. She is currently working on several projects, including a cross-site analysis of the impact of climate variability on plant communities, and … [Read more...]

Argentine Invasion: Professor Neil Tsutsui featured on NPR’s Radiolab

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Professor Neil Tsutsui is a guest expert on the public radio show Radiolab, in an episode uncovering the warlike, marauding Argentine ants. "Argentine ants are not good neighbors. When they meet ants from another colony, any other colony, they fight to the death, and tear the other ants to … [Read more...]

PhD Student Ellen Kersten’s Paper Recognized for Outstanding Student Research by CDC Journal

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Preventing Chronic Disease is an online peer-reviewed journal published by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They recently recognized PhD student Ellen Kersten's research as outstanding and published … [Read more...]

On Meeting Secretary of Energy Steven Chu: an ESPM Student’s Perspective

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This post was originally published on the Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative blog by Joanna Hsu, graduate student in the Suding Lab. VIP For an Hour by Joanna Hsu As a graduate student in the sciences, my typical work day might include analyzing data, reading a published paper, or … [Read more...]

ESPM Alumnus Michael Wasserman Talks About Soy Diets & Primate Evolution on National Public Radio

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Dr. Michael Wasserman received his PhD in 2011 from Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, where he began his research on soy diets and primate evolution in Professor Katherine Milton's lab. Dr. Wasserman is now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at McGill University. Listen to the … [Read more...]

Analysis of global fire risk shows big, fast changes ahead

Fires burn across the hillside near homes in Portola Hills, Calif.

BERKELEY — Climate change is widely expected to disrupt future fire patterns around the world, with some regions, such as the western United States, seeing more frequent fires within the next 30 years, according to a new analysis led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, in … [Read more...]

Let it burn: Prescribed fires pose little danger to forest ecology, study says

A prescribed fire in the central Sierra Nevada is set to reduce fuel that could otherwise feed a catastrophic wildfire. (Jason Moghaddas photo)

BERKELEY — Fighting fire with fire has been given the green light by a new study of techniques used to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires. And with a rise in wildfires predicted in many parts of the country, researchers say controlled burns and other treatments to manage this risk should be … [Read more...]

Professor Louise Fortmann Honored With the 2012 Distinguished Rural Sociologist Award

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Professor Louise Fortmann has been honored with the 2012 Distinguished Rural Sociologist Award by the Rural Sociological Society, the highest award the Society bestows on its members. The Society honored her commitment to scholarship aimed at improving rural livelihoods, mentoring students, and … [Read more...]

Carolyn Merchant to be a visiting scholar at The Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, Fall 2012

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Carolyn Merchant, a professor of environmental history, philosophy, and ethics, will join the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., as a member for the fall 2012 semester. She will be working on the project “Ideas of Nature in the Scientific Revolution,” a study for which she also … [Read more...]

Professor Rodrigo Almeida given distinguished Syngenta Award from the American Phytopathological Society

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The Syngenta Award is given by Syngenta Crop Protection to an APS member for an outstanding recent contribution to teaching, research, or extension in plant pathology. Priority for this award is given to members of APS who are in the first decade of a career in plant pathology. The recipient … [Read more...]

ESPM Undergrad Wins University’s Top Honor

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Eric Olliff, who is earning a B.S. in conservation and resource studies and a B.A. in Chinese language and literature, is the University Medalist, the annual award bestowed on Berkeley’s top graduating senior for the last 150 years. The prestigious award comes with a $2,500 prize and the chance to … [Read more...]

Diversified Farming Systems Center Receives $100K from Keck Futures Initiative

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The Center for Diversified Farming Systems received its first research grant from the National Academy-Keck Future’s Initiative. The award of $100,000 goes to PI Claire Kremen and an interdisciplinary international team of scientists, to compare and contrast how how smallholder agricultural … [Read more...]

New Century, New Forestry Club Benches

The Forestry Club commemorative benches, in place less then a day, are already an appealing resting spot.

Six new carved redwood benches, weighing 1,500-2,000 pounds each, made the journey from UC Russell Reservation, a research facility in the hills of Contra Costa County, to their new home adjacent to Mulford Hall today (May 7) to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the UC Berkeley Forestry Club. … [Read more...]

Steelhead trout lose out when water is low in wine country

Juvenile steelhead trout, shown here in a small stream pool, are hit hard when water levels are low. (Ted Grantham photo)

BERKELEY — The competition between farmers and fish for precious water in California is intensifying in wine country, suggests a new study by biologists at the University of California, Berkeley. … [Read more...]

An Open Letter from Co-Directors of Diversified Farming Systems Center

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The current controversy at the Gill Tract has led to the Center for Diversified Farming Systems at the University of California at Berkeley, or “DFS,” surfacing in campus and newspaper communications. Many refer to the potential role of the center in developing activities on sustainable agriculture … [Read more...]

The 2012 Hans Jenny Lecture by Dr. Pedro Sanchez: Towards a 21st Century Soil Science

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Pedro Sanchez is the Director of the Tropical Agriculture and the Rural Environment Program, Senior Research Scholar and Director of the Millennium Villages Project at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He also directs AfSIS, the African Soils Information Service developing the digital … [Read more...]

Story of Stuff’s Annie Leonard to Keynote Gradfest Symposium

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When a 20-minute lecture about the economic supply chain goes viral, spawning a stunning 12 million views, a non-profit organization with a slate of multimedia offerings, and a vibrant online community of hundreds of thousands of citizens eager to make the world a better place, one has to wonder: … [Read more...]

Public can help track sudden oak death

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Sudden oak death has become a major concern for the East Bay Regional Park District, other public agencies, and private landowners who are responsible for open space land management in the greater Bay Area. The disease has caused extensive tree mortality in Marin County, and seems to be spreading … [Read more...]

Gradfest 2012: ESPM’s Graduate Research Symposium

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A one-day extravaganza celebrating the graduate program of UC Berkeley’s top-ranked Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. Featuring graduate student talks and posters, keynote address from Annie Leonard founder of the Story of Stuff Project and creator of the Story of Stuff … [Read more...]

The Earth takes time out to chat about the last 4.5 billion years, the evolution of Homo sapiens, and the designation of its own holiday

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Our Environment e-Newsletter, Spring 2012, Volume 1, Issue 2 Happy Earth Day! All around the planet people are celebrating, reflecting, praying, and calling for change in the way we treat the planet. But what does the Big Mama herself think of all this? In the days leading up to Earth Day … [Read more...]

ESPM Faculty and Students Receive Notable Campus Awards

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The Chancellor's Awards for Public Service Each year, the Chancellor recognizes students, staff, faculty and community partnerships that embody UC Berkeley's proud tradition of public service and commitment to improving our local and global community. Two recipients of this year's Chancellor's … [Read more...]

Professors Peluso and Iles Honored for Mentoring

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Nancy Peluso, a professor in the Department of Environment Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM), has won the Graduate Division’s 2012 Sarlo Graduate Student Mentoring Award for Senior Faculty. Alastair Iles, also of ESPM, has won the Graduate Assembly’s Distinguished Faculty Mentor … [Read more...]

Towards a 21st Century Soil Science: The Hans Jenny Memorial Lecture, April 23, 2012

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This year's Hans Jenny Memorial Lecture will be given by Dr. Pedro Sanchez, Director of the Tropical Agriculture and the the Rural Environment Program, Senior Research Scholar, and Director of the Millennium Villages Project at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. … [Read more...]

Grassroots efforts: a farmer’s camel marketing cooperative in Inner Mongolia

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In fieldwork in the U.S. and China, Professors Lynn Huntsinger and Li Wenjun of Peking University have noted efforts to restore or maintain some aspects of traditional systems in China and the U.S. at multiple scales. These adaptations may be those needed to retain or develop resilience and … [Read more...]

Professor Huntsinger Wins Grant Promoting Chinese Collaboration

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Environmental Science, Policy, and Management professor Lynn Huntsinger won a $25,000 research grant from the Li Ka Shing Foundation for Women in Science. The award was announced February 15, 2012, and must be spent during the 2012 calendar year. The program is funded by the Chau Hoi Shuen … [Read more...]

Pamela, activist and leader who tirelessly works to improve her community’s health in rural Kenya

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PhD student Katie Fiorella took this photo of her host mother Pamela while traveling on Lake Victoria from Mfangano Island, Kenya to the tiny fishing outpost called Remba. Pamela’s background as a community health worker has been useful for Katie, whose research focuses on the link between wildlife … [Read more...]

Graduate student Thomas Azwell’s research spurred by Gulf oil spill

Thomas Azwell is testing bagasse-filled growth tubes as a clean medium for marsh plants in the Bay Jimmy Restoration Project in Louisiana. (Photo by Gavin Garrison)

BERKELEY — A graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources, deeply influenced by the Deepwater Horizon disaster, is helping to restore the Gulf’s blackened marshes with a project that could also aid threatened ecosystems nationwide, including in Northern … [Read more...]

Justin Brashares talks about emulating Jane Goodall, being chased up a tree by lions, and making the connection between European fisheries and African bushmeat markets

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Our Environment e-Newsletter, Winter 2012, Volume 1, Issue 1 Interconnectedness is the most important concept in wildlife conservation. It's hardly obvious that ordering seafood for dinner in Germany, for example, might directly result in the death of African wildlife until Professor Justin … [Read more...]

Berkeley Initiative in Global Change receives $1.5M from Keck Foundation

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The Berkeley Initiative in Global Change Biology (BiGCB) has been awarded $1.5 million by the W.M. Keck Foundation to develop a Predictive Biosystems Informatics Engine (PBIE), the informatics infrastructure needed to access, visualize, and analyze rich data, and provide the foundation for building … [Read more...]

UC wildlife research team wants your gently-used socks

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A University of California wildlife research team working in the Sierra Nevada near Oakhurst, Calif., is asking the public to donate clean, gently used socks for research on a rare weasel called the Pacific fisher. … [Read more...]

Professor Carolyn Merchant elected a Fellow of the AAAS

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Professor Carolyn Merchanthas been named a 2011 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. Professor Merchant was named for her distinguished contributions to the field of history … [Read more...]

The Salton Sea: an ecological disaster

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The Salton Sea is a shallow hypersaline lake located in the desert of southeastern California. The lake is maintained by runoff from agricultural irrigation, has no outlets and because of its location in an area of high evaporation, has been accumulating soluble salts and insoluble constituents in … [Read more...]

Diversified Farming Systems: finding solutions to pressing agriculture-related issues

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Diversified farming systems are a set of methods and tools developed to produce food sustainably by leveraging ecological diversity at plot, field, and landscape scales. Food crops are planted and animals are grazed in ways that replenish natural ecosystems. Diversified agriculture is critical to … [Read more...]

Climate change blamed for dead trees in Africa

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BERKELEY — Trees are dying in  the Sahel, a region in Africa south of the Sahara Desert, and human-caused climate change is to blame, according to a new study led by a scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. … [Read more...]

Can ‘Carbon Ranching’ Offset Emissions In California?

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Professors Whendee Silver and Dennis Baldocchi speak with NPR correspondent Christopher Joyce about 'carbon ranching'. … [Read more...]

Scientists Propose Thinning Sierra Forests to Enhance Water Runoff

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Runoff from the Sierra Nevada, a critical source of California’s water supply, could be enhanced by thinning forests to historical conditions, according to a report from a team of scientists with the University of California, Merced, UC Berkeley and Environmental Defense. The team proposes to … [Read more...]

Taking bushmeat off the menu could increase child anemia

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BERKELEY — A new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, finds that consuming bushmeat had a positive effect on children’s nutrition, raising complex questions about the trade-offs between human health and environmental conservation. They further estimated that a loss … [Read more...]

Land Donation to Double UC Research Forestlands

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BERKELEY - The University of California will add 4,584 acres of Northern California mixed-conifer forest to its research lands, doubling the size of UC’s research forests, as a result of a land donation approved yesterday (November 16) in Sacramento. The transfer is the largest single acquisition of … [Read more...]

Study: Without Action, SF Bay Tidal Marshes Will Disappear

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An alarming 93 percent of San Francisco Bay’s tidal marsh could be lost in the next 50 to 100 years with 5.4 feet (1.65 meters) of sea-level rise and low sediment availability, according to a new study led by PRBO Conservation Science (PRBO). These figures represent the high-end sea-level rise … [Read more...]

Feeding the world: It’s all about starting small

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When American families sit down to dinner, often the concern is to avoid eating too much. Yet in 2010, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that more than 900 million people around the world were undernourished. By 2050, the world's population is projected to rise to … [Read more...]

Oak killing mold spreads in East Bay

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By Mike Taugher, Contra Costa Times The tiny culprit behind a deadly oak disease has spread in the East Bay and appears to have crept closer to residential areas in parts of Oakland and Berkeley, according to the latest survey. "It may be an early warning sign," said Matteo Garbelotto, who … [Read more...]

Professor Gordon Frankie Contributes to Art and Science Installation at Botanical Garden

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By Joe Eaton and Ron Sullivan, Special to The Chronicle A garden of mouthings. Purple, scarlet-speckled, black The great corollas dilate, peeling back their silks." Sylvia Plath's poem "The Beekeeper's Daughter" is about as cheerful as most of what she wrote concerning her (or her … [Read more...]

Berkeley Initiative awarded $2.5 million from Moore Foundation

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The Berkeley Initiative in Global Change Biology (BiGCB) was recently awarded a $2.5 million dollar grant by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.  The grant funds seven major projects and involves the participation of faculty members in eight departments including ESPM faculty George Roderick, … [Read more...]

ESPM Undergraduate a Finalist in International Competition

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Conservation and resource studies senior Devin Richards is one of four UC Berkeley students to place among the top students in an international competition for undergraduates. This year, for the first time, the Undergraduate Awards of Ireland, historically an all-Ireland awards competition, was … [Read more...]

Fishing for aquaculture answers

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If you buy fresh fish with any regularity you’ve likely come across tilapia as an offering. A relative newcomer to American fish markets, the mild, flakey white fish originated in Africa and was introduced to American markets about 10 years ago, sometimes accompanied by favorable sustainability … [Read more...]

Bay Area Sudden Oak Cases Jump, Survey Says

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Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle The deadly pathogen known as sudden oak death is spreading throughout the Bay Area, infecting more trees in more places than have ever been seen before, according to scientists tracking the disease. … [Read more...]

Robert Van Steenwyk Appointed to Invasive Species Advisory Committee

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Bob Van Steenwyk, a Cooperative Extension Specialist, has been appointed by the US Secretary of the Interior to serve on the Invasive Species Advisory Committee (ISAC). As a member of the committee, he will provide advice to the National Invasive Species Council (NISC) on a broad array of issues, … [Read more...]

The science of wildland fires

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Fire plays an important role in many ecosystems. Our dependence on these fire-prone landscapes requires that we understand and reach a sustainable co-existence with wildfire. This is where scientists Scott Stephens and Max Moritz step in. Their labs study the science of fire from a holistic … [Read more...]

The evolution of the orchid and the orchid bee

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Which came first? The classic chicken/egg question is often asked when it comes to the co-evolution of plants and their pollinators. A new study in Science led by Santiago Ramirez ,  post-doctoral researcher in the Tsutsui Lab, has found that the orchid bee evolved at least 12 millions years … [Read more...]

Care2.com Interviews Dara O’Rourke: Empowering Consumers To Shop Their Values

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Care2.com's Trailblazers for Good, a Q&A series of interviews "with the most world shaking individuals leading the movement to align impact, profit and purpose", interviewed professor Dara O'Rourke about his company GoodGuide. Read the full interview   … [Read more...]

Bees outpace orchids in evolution

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BERKELEY — Orchid bees aren’t so dependent on orchids after all, according to a new study that challenges the prevailing view of how plants and their insect pollinators evolve together. A long-standing belief among biologists holds that species in highly specialized relationships engage in a … [Read more...]

ESPM Graduate Students Receive EPA STAR Fellowships

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Congratulations to ESPM students Dan Sarna-Wojcicki, Freyja Knapp, Kauaoa Fraiola, and Ellen Kersten, 2011 recipients of the EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowships. Jeremy Andersen and Gabriel Isaacman were awarded STAR Fellowships in 2010. Learn more about the EPA STAR Fellowship … [Read more...]

Miller Fellow joins ESPM

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This year the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science awarded a research fellowship to Dr. Adam Retchless, who has joined ESPM this fall to study bacterial population genomics alongside Professor Rodrigo Almeida. The prestigious three-year fellowship is awarded to young scientists of great … [Read more...]

PhD Student Kendra Klein named Switzer Fellow

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Kendra Klein of the Winickoff Research Group has been named a Switzer Environmental Fellow by the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation. Kendra works at the nexus of public health and sustainable agri-food systems. In collaboration with Health Care Without Harm’s “Healthy Food in Health Care” … [Read more...]

New paper co-authored by Damian Elias describes how hummingbird feathers ‘sing’ during courtship

When males perform courtship dives for females, neighboring fluttering tale feathers produce interaction frequencies. In some species, for or five species may interact with one another to produce sounds.

A new paper co-authored by Professor Damian Elias and published in the recent edition of Science magazine identifies the cause of sounds made by some hummingbird species during courtship. While courting, a male hummingbird will typically climb into the air five to 40 meters and then quickly dives … [Read more...]

Professor Allen Goldstein receives award to study Gulf Oil Spill

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Professor Allen Goldstein will be sharing an award of $860,000 over three years with colleague Evan Variano of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. This award is part of a research consortium formed after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil spill. Teams will investigate the fate of … [Read more...]

The rare and endangered Siberian White Crane

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Poyang Lake, the largest freshwater lake in China and a Ramsar wetland conservation site, provides important wintering habitat for 300 bird species including a number of endangered waterbirds. Among them is the only surviving wild population of critically endangered Siberian White Cranes (Grus … [Read more...]

Science-based ranch management

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The 270,000-acre Tejon Ranch is the largest, contiguously privately owned parcel in California. It contains portions of five major ecological regions: the southern San Joaquin Valley, the Coast Ranges, the southern Sierra Nevada, the Tehachapi Mountains, and the Mojave Desert. In 2008, California … [Read more...]

Gene sleuths trace tree-killing pathogen back to California

A row of Italian cypress trees near Siena, a city in Italy's Tuscany region. A number of trees show symptoms of cypress canker disease. Researchers have traced the origin of the pathogen responsible for the disease back to California. (Photo by Robert Danti, Italian National Research Council)

BERKELEY — A new study by UC Berkeley and Italian researchers spotlights the hazards of planting trees and other vegetation in regions where they are not native. … [Read more...]

Scavenger behavior and disease dynamics

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In addition to studying anthrax in mega-herbivores, Getz lab member Steve Bellan is looking at how the behavior of scavengers, like the black-backed jackals shown above, contributes to the dynamics of infectious diseases. The striking difference between the mechanisms of rabies transmission … [Read more...]

Anthrax outbreaks in nature

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Steve Bellan, a Ph.D. student in the Getz Lab, is interested in behavioral and spatial aspects of wildlife disease.  He studies anthrax outbreaks on herbivores, like the zebra pictured above, and rabies outbreaks in jackals in Etosha National Park, Namibia. He uses a combination of dynamic modeling … [Read more...]

Graduate Student Hillary Sardiñas Receives $25K Grant from Western SARE

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Hillary Sardiñas, graduate student with the Kremen Lab, recently received $25,000 for her project, "Ecosystem Services in Hedgerow Restorations: Pollination Function and Nesting Habitat." … [Read more...]

There’s something in the California air

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UC scientists built and worked in towers as part of the largest single atmospheric research effort in the state. The data they've collected will guide policymakers dealing with air pollution. … [Read more...]

At the interplay between landscape and life

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Graduate student Sarah Reed of the Amundson Lab, explores the interplay between landscape and life by studying the exchanges and feedbacks between terra firma and the organisms that move and live within it. In particular, she is investigating a unique oscillating landscape in California’s Central … [Read more...]

Obituary: ESPM Research Associate Rebecca Wenk

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BERKELEY — Rebecca Wenk, a research associate in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM), died after a brief battle with thyroid cancer on Thursday, July 14. She was 31. … [Read more...]

The Hans Jenny Memorial Lecture in Soil Science – The Genius of Soil By Garrison Sposito

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Garrison Sposito holds the Betty and Isaac Chair in Soil Science at Berkeley. He was a personal friend of Hans Jenny for nearly 30 years. Professor Sposito, whose academic degrees are in agriculture, specializes in physical chemistry applied to natural waters and soils. He has been elected a Fellow … [Read more...]

Environmental impacts of oil spills

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Graduate student Thomas Azwell's research focuses on a better understanding of the environmental impacts of oil spills and innovating better technologies for oil spill response, remediation and restoration. After serving as the environmental lead for the Deepwater Horizon Study Group during the … [Read more...]

Research focuses on the influence of a highly invasive tree on frugivore foraging

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Graduate student Erica Spotswood's research investigates how the introduction of non-native frugivores and fruit-bearing plants on oceanic islands has altered seed dispersal relationships between birds and plants. The islands of French Polynesia have very small communities of seed dispersers and … [Read more...]

Study done in the Sierra Nevada has implications for how foresters manage tree density

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This image from a Nelder Plot at Blodgett Forest Research Station in the Sierra Nevada mountains is part of a study designed to find out how trees respond to different levels of competition for resources (light, water, and nutrients).  The wagon-wheel pattern provides a space-efficient way to … [Read more...]

A grandmother in Inner Mongolia talks about life as a herder

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In Alashan, Inner Mongolia, a grandmother talks about her life as a herder and what it is like to move into town. As part of efforts to improve grassland conditions, many herding families have been encouraged to settle in town with subsidized housing and pensions. Like many elderly herders, this … [Read more...]

The neural origins of shell structure and pattern in aquatic mollusks

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ESPM professor George Oster and colleagues presented a model to explain how the diversity of shell shapes and patterns amongst the marine mollusks arise from the neural net in their mantle—the secretory organ that constructs and paints the shell. A mathematical model of the neural net can … [Read more...]

The driest place on earth

A Berkeley scientist scales a deep riverbank in the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile to sample volcanic ash that will be chemically analyzed to determine the age of the ancient river deposit it is part of. Photo by Ronald Amundson

The Atacama Desert of northern Chile is the driest place on Earth, completely devoid of plants, animals, and many microbes. ESPM scientist Ronald Amundson and his colleagues across the campus are using field research and chemical techniques to determine how old the desert is, how the landscape has … [Read more...]

Ecosystems take hard hit from loss of top predators

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A paper reviewing the impact of the loss of large predators and herbivores high in the food chain confirms that their decline has had cascading effects in marine, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems throughout the world. … [Read more...]

How Safe is Mist Netting? First Large Scale Study into Bird Capture Technique Evaluates the Risks

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Frequently Captured Birds Found to be at Less Risk of Injury Compared to Birds Captured Once … [Read more...]

Latinos Have Higher Exposure to Nitrate-Contaminated Drinking Water, Study Finds

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San Joaquin Valley communities with large Latino populations are exposed to disproportionately high levels of the agricultural chemical nitrate through their drinking water, … [Read more...]

Wild pollinators worth up to $2.4 billion to farmers, study finds

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California agriculture reaps $937 million to $2.4 billion per year in economic value from wild, free-living bee species that serve the critical function of pollinating crops, according to a new study by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, published this week in the June issue of … [Read more...]

One Health: Water, Animals, Food and Society

Residents of Nyanza Province in Western Kenya rely on subsistence fishing and farming and remain particularly vulnerable to food insecurity, poverty, and HIV infection.

Graduate student Kathryn Fiorella of the Brashares Lab spent the summer of 2011 exploring links between human health and the environment in Western Kenya. Kathryn was one of eight students from four University of California campuses to receive a $5000 One Health Student Summer fellowship to … [Read more...]

ESPM Faculty Garner Awards, Honors

Three faculty members recently earned notable awards and honors. … [Read more...]

Unusual Suspects: Resurgence, resilience and regeneration in the face of Climate Change

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A conversation with community leaders about the experiences of their communities, as they propose and implement novel climate change interventions that challenge the technocratic alternatives produced by central policy players in government or business sectors. … [Read more...]

Ending African River Blindness (Part 1)

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Professor Vince Resh discusses onchocerciasis, African River Blindness, a disease caused by parasitic black flies in West Africa. See Part 2 here. … [Read more...]

Claire Kremen discusses the Honey Bee Pollination Crisis at the Commonwealth Club

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Professor Claire Kremen discusses how wild bees can boost the effectiveness of managed hives and play a critical role in pollinating the crops that keep California's economy humming. … [Read more...]

Professor John Harte: Understanding the Global Environmental Crisis

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Conversations with History host Harry Kreisler welcomes Professor John Harte of UC Berkeley for a discussion of what environmental science teaches us about the potentially catastrophic consequences of a failure to address the current environmental crisis. Series: [3/2009] [Science] [Show ID: 16057] … [Read more...]

Rachel Barge – 2007 Brower Youth Awards

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Rachel is a 2008 graduate of University of California at Berkeley with a degree in Conservation and Resources Studies and Forestry. … [Read more...]

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