Asmeret Asefaw Berhe
Asmeret’s research interests lie at the interface of soil science and global change science. Asmeret studies the role of the soil system (the pedosphere) in climate and she seeks to understand the effect of changing environmental conditions on vital soil processes. Specifically, Asmeret’s work focuses on biogeochemical cycling of essential elements (esp. carbon and nitrogen) in the soil system and how physical perturbations in the environment (ex. erosion, fire, changes in climate) affect stability and mechanisms of stabilization of soil organic matter. Asmeret’s work provides advanced integration of biogeochemical and geomorphological approaches to derive improved representation of mechanisms that regulate organic matter persistence in the soil system. Asmeret’s research was recently highlighted in the US Congress. In addition to her research, Asmeret teaches introductory to advanced courses in Soil Science, Environmental Science, and Organic matter dynamics in soils and sediments. You can read more about Asmeret’s Lab’s work on her website.
Asmeret holds a Ph.D. in Biogeochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley; M. Sc. in Resource Development (emphasis on Political Ecology of Land Degradation) from Michigan State University, and B. Sc. in Soil and Water Conservation from University of Asmara, Eritrea. Prior to joining the faculty at UC Merced, Asmeret was a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow (2006-2008) at the University of California, Berkeley and at the University of California, Davis.
Asmeret has been a member of ESWN since 2007, and served as a member of ESWN’s New Member welcoming committee 2008 – 2013. Asmeret contributes to several efforts aimed at increasing recruitment and retention of women and underrepresented minorities in the Earth Sciences. As part of Asmeret’s contribution to outreach and education, she collaborates with the Lawrence Hall of Science to produce k-12 curriculum on earth science topics (ex. see Walk in the woods a book on Soil Formation and Decomposition).
Outside work, Asmeret spends much of her time with her two kids, Essey and Elilta, and her husband Teamrat who is also a soil scientist in the faculty at UC Merced.