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.
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).
Bird species usually are counted twice a year by wildlife surveyors: once during the breeding season and again during the Christmas Bird Count .
New technology, however, is increasing the accuracy of bird population studies. A team of UC Merced researchers is developing a model to recognize bird calls.
Forest restoration is often associated with mitigating wildfire risk and improving ecosystem health throughout the Sierra Nevada. But restoration also dramatically affects water use within forests and the amount of runoff that flows downstream.
The world is a complex place, and humanity faces major challenges. Climate change mitigation might be the most difficult, in large part because of the interdependency of living things and their ecosystems.
How do people transform economic systems so they are also sustainable for people and the planet?
“If we don’t consider how everything connects from a systems perspective, we’re not going to solve grand challenges such as climate change,” Professor Tracey Osborne said. “Not even close.”
Wildfire is a natural process necessary to many ecosystems. But wildfires are getting worse and more damaging, and it is our fault, according to new research.
A paper by two UC Merced researchers and their colleagues, published in a new Nature journal called Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, indicates the global economic and environmental damage caused by wildfire will only increase because of human-caused climate change.
However, we are also able to save ourselves, the researchers said.
California’s leaders want the state to reach 100 percent clean energy in the future, including being 60 percent powered by renewable energy by 2030 and being free of fossil fuels entirely by 2045.
There’s a whole world of activity beneath your feet. Soil holds a large proportion of Earth's biodiversity, and is the place where organisms interact with each other and with plants, serving important functions for their ecosystems.
It is said that rainforests are the Earth’s lungs, capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, building it into lush vegetation and releasing oxygen and water back into the air.