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The Science of Soil
Teamrat Ghezzehei is looking to unlock the famine puzzle by examining why certain shrubs native to Senegal help surrounding plants thrive.
Staying Grounded
Asmeret Berhe and her team examine how soil is impacted by factors such as climate change, erosion, fire and even armed conflict.
Pining for Microbes
Carolin Frank's lab studies conifer endophytes-- bacteria or fungi that live inside plants without causing disease.

Life & Environmental Sciences at UC Merced

The Life & Environmental Sciences (LES) department brings together a broadly experienced faculty with a common interest in interdisciplinary research and education in natural and human-impacted Earth systems. Research and teaching carried out by our faculty address fundamental and applied problems associated with the environment and its sustainability at the intersection of biological, chemical and physical sciences.

UC Merced’s location in the Central Valley of California offers a rich environment for pursuing these interests. Just 90 minutes west of Yosemite National Park, two hours from the magnificent Pacific Coast, and namesake to a river that contributes to a lifeline between the mountains and the seas, UC Merced is placed appropriately to consider issues of local, regional and global importance such as biosecurity, conservation, ecosystem function, environmental health, sustainability, and the history and future of life in a changing world.
With imagination and enthusiasm, our faculty and students address these research challenges, generating new knowledge using the tools of modern experimental and observational sciences, the incisive simplicity and rigor of the scientific method, coupled with the power of computational modeling and theory to sieve large environmental, genetic, and organismal datasets for information.  
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