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Lorena Anderson

Ecosystem Engineers Play Crucial Role in Stabilizing Their Environments, Study Shows

When people think of engineering in nature, they tend to think of species such as beavers — the tree-felling, dam-building rodents whose machinations can shape the landscape by creating lakes and changing the path of rivers.

But beavers are far from the only organisms to reshape their environment. A squirrel that inadvertently plants oak trees is also an “ecosystem engineer.” Roughly speaking, any organism whose impact on the environment outlasts its own lifetime is an environmental engineer.

New Engineering Research Center to Focus on Agriculture Technology

By 2050, the U.S. population is estimated to grow to 400 million, and the world population to 9.1 billion, requiring a 70 percent increase in global food production.

UC Merced is one of four campuses across the country uniting to meet that challenge by harnessing the power of innovation and technology to develop precision agriculture for a sustainable future.

Professor Explores Green Lubricants for Mechanical Systems with NSF Grant

Mechanical systems, such as car engines and manufacturing equipment, use petroleum-based lubricants and solvents that are considered hazardous. After use, those compounds mostly end up in the earth.

Environmentally friendly alternatives — room-temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) — that don’t need solvents and can perform better haven’t been widely used because of a lack of basic understanding about how they work.

New Grant Helps Assess Benefits of Satellites for Determining Water Quality

Summertime means fun in the water, but as temperatures increase, algal blooms can grow in freshwater and marine ecosystems.

Some algae are natural and life-giving, while others are the result of life out of balance and can have harmful effects. Consisting of bacteria and tiny plankton, they arise quickly and alter the ecosystem by consuming available oxygen, killing fish.

Human Waste Treatment Helps Solve Climate-Change Puzzle, New Study Shows

About 4.5 billion people around the globe do not have access to adequate sanitation, and what they do have — typically pit latrines and lagoons — are responsible for widespread illnesses and a portion of the greenhouse gases that are warming the planet.

UC Merced Professor Rebecca Ryals and a group of colleagues have a solution that not only increases safety, sustainability and jobs, but reduces greenhouse gas emissions and waste-borne illnesses while producing an effective fertilizer for agriculture.

Bobcats Help Shape Future of NASA, SPACEX Missions

As the SPACEX Crew Dragon spacecraft left Earth today to ferry two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, many Bobcats were watching the live stream with keen anticipation.

It’s not just that the flight marks the first time a commercial aerospace company will carry humans — two NASA astronauts — into Earth's orbit. The collaborative project also has special meaning for UC Merced.

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