News Center

We’ve Got the Dirt on Soil Protists

Among the large cast of microbiome players, bacteria have long been hogging the spotlight. But the single-celled organisms known as protists are finally getting the starring role they deserve. A group of scientists who study the interactions between plants and microbes have released a new study detailing the dynamic relationships between soil-dwelling protists and developing plants, demonstrating that soil protists respond to plant signals much like bacteria do.

Meet EcoPOD: Berkeley Lab’s High-Tech Growing Chamber

The soil, microbes, air, and water surrounding every individual plant is actually a bustling miniature environment that can tell us a great deal about important, large-scale ecological processes. Our scientists have developed a ground-breaking new way to study it.

Susannah Tringe Appointed Director of Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology Division

Following an international search, Berkeley Lab has named Susannah Tringe, known for her work in advancing the field of metagenomics, to serve as Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology (EGSB) Division Director.

How Drought and Other Extremes Impact Water Pollution

One in 10 Americans depends on the Colorado River for bathing and drinking. Last fall’s record-high temperatures reduced Colorado snowpack in winter 2018 to 66 percent of normal, sparking concern over water shortages downstream and leaving water managers fearful of a repeat. Berkeley Lab hydrological science expert Bhavna Arora explains how unseasonably warm weather and drought can affect water quality.

4 Berkeley Lab-affiliated Scientists Elected as National Academy of Sciences Members

Four scientists affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are among the group of 84 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS); three are also professors at UC Berkeley.

Research Becomes Reality in Study of Fire Impact on Sonoma Water Resources

Catastrophic fires in Northern California burned more than 110,000 acres in Sonoma and Napa counties last month – including 8 percent of the Russian River watershed. Now with the rainy season underway Berkeley Lab’s research – which seeks to understand how the hydrology and microbiology of the surface and groundwater system respond to extreme events – has become even more critical.

Berkeley Lab Awarded $4.6 Million for Transformational Agriculture Technologies

ARPA-E has awarded Berkeley Lab $4.6 million for two projects to “see” into the soil and ultimately develop crops that take carbon out of the atmosphere. One technology aims to use electrical current to image the root system. The other will use neutron scattering to measure the distribution of carbon and other elements in the soil.

New Leaf Study Sheds Light on ‘Shady’ Past

A new study led by a Berkeley Lab research scientist highlights a literally shady practice in plant science that has in some cases underestimated plants’ rate of growth and photosynthesis, among other traits.

New Technology Helps Pinpoint Sources of Water Contamination

When the local water management agency closes your favorite beach due to unhealthy water quality, how reliable are the tests they base their decisions on? As it turns out, those tests, as well as the standards behind them, have not been updated in decades. Now scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a highly accurate, DNA-based method to detect and distinguish sources of microbial contamination in water.

Lignin-Feasting Microbe Holds Promise for Biofuels

Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have identified a rain forest microbe that feasts on the lignin in plant leaf litter, making it a potential ally for the cost-effective production of advanced biofuels.