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Lorena Anderson

CAREER Award will Support Enhanced Renewable Energy Assessments

Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Marie-Odile Fortier’s plan to make more accurate assessments of renewable energy systems’ carbon footprints has made her the fifth UC Merced recipient of the prestigious CAREER award this year.

The award comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which gives the grants to encourage early-career researchers.

Mercury Control and Mitigation Research Earns Professor and Student Honors

Professor Marc Beutel and his graduate student Mark Seelos have been recognized for papers and a presentation on toxic mercury mitigation by the North American Lake Management Society.

Beutel, an environmental engineer, co-wrote two of a group of three papers named Best Paper of the Year at the 2020 North American Lake Management Society annual conference.

Climate Change and Suppression Tactics are Critical Factors in Increasing Fires, Study Shows

The millions of people affected by 2020’s record-breaking and deadly fire season can attest to the fact that wildfire hazards are increasing across western North America.

Both climate change and forest management have been blamed, but the relative influence of these drivers is still heavily debated. The results of a recent study show that in some ecosystems, human-caused climate change is the predominant factor; in other places, the trend can be attributed mainly to a century of fire suppression that has produced dense, unhealthy forests.

New Precision Ag Project Would Help Farmers Measure Plant Moisture

One of the biggest challenges in managing crops, especially in large fields, is knowing how much water each section of a field needs. Determining that accurately is a cumbersome process that requires people to hand-pluck individual leaves from plants, put them in pressure chambers and apply air pressure to see when water begins to leak from the leaf stems.

That kind of testing is time consuming and means that farmers can only reach so many areas of a field each day and cannot test as frequently as they should.

New Project Focuses on Life in Soil in the Earth’s Critical Zone

Since 2007, UC Merced researchers have been extremely productive in the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory (CZO), delving into investigations of hydrology, climate change, geology, biology and more.

But the National Science Foundation, which funded the CZOs, is decommissioning the sites and has reconfigured the program around themed research clusters in a new program called the Critical Zone Collaborative Network (CZCN).

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