News Center

Berkeley Lab Team Hunts for Carbon in Soil Without Getting Their Hands Dirty

Physicists and soil scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have teamed up to develop a new method for finding carbon stored in the soil by plants and microbes. This new method for measuring carbon pulled out of the air promises to be an important tool for fighting climate change and developing more ecologically friendly forms of agriculture.

The Future Looks Bright for Infinitely Recyclable Plastic

Plastics are ubiquitous, but they’re not practical. Less than 10% are recycled, and the other ~8 billion tons are creating a pollution crisis. A Berkeley Lab team is determined to change that. A new analysis shows producing and recycling their game-changing new plastic could be easy and cheap enough to leave old plastics in the dust.

Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Monitoring Capabilities Still in Use 10 Years After Fukushima Earthquake and Nuclear Power Plant Disaster

The events following the Fukushima disaster, a decade ago, drew upon Berkeley Lab’s long-standing expertise in radiation measurements and safety, and led to the creation of long-term radiation-monitoring programs, both locally and in Japan, as well as a series of radiation surveys and technology demonstrations including drone- and helicopter-based surveys, and vehicle-based and hand-carried measurements.

Impacts of Climate Change on Our Water and Energy Systems: It’s Complicated

A team of researchers from Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley, and UC Santa Barbara propose a framework for evaluating climate change adaptations, provide a case study of California.

Associate Lab Director Susan Hubbard Joins the National Academy of Engineering

Susan Hubbard, the Associate Laboratory Director of Berkeley Lab’s Earth and Environmental Sciences Area, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for her significant contributions to hydrogeophysics and biogeophysics, and to the geophysics of permafrost.

A Matchmaker for Microbiomes

A unique neural network tool is making it possible to accurately infer the interactions between the microbes that are present in a community and the metabolites they produce – a capability that will greatly advance research into the microbiomes in the environment and inside our bodies.

How Does Climate Change Affect Mountainous Watersheds That Give Us Our Water?

Ecologist Heidi Steltzer, a Fort Lewis College professor and member of the Department of Energy’s Watershed Function Scientific Focus Area (SFA) project led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, studies how reduced snowpack and earlier snowmelt caused by climate change impact water supply in high-mountain areas. She is a contributing lead author of a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate.

Berkeley Lab Receives DOE Support for Building to Study Microbe-Ecosystem Interactions for Energy and Environmental Research

Berkeley Lab recently received federal approval to proceed with preliminary design work for a state-of-the-art building that would revolutionize investigations into how interactions among microbes, water, soil, and plants shape entire ecosystems. Research performed in the building could help address many of today’s energy, water, and food challenges.

Berkeley Lab Technology Provides Clarity Amid Hawaiian Water Contamination Concerns

For years, routine testing has shown that watersheds of the Mahaulepu Valley and Waikomo Stream in southeast Kauai frequently contain high counts of potentially pathogenic fecal indicator bacteria (FIB). To better understand the cause of the high FIB counts, the DOH commissioned a study by Berkeley Lab microbial ecologists Gary Andersen and Eric Dubinsky. After using a powerful microbial detection tool called the PhyloChip, the scientists concluded that most of the past monitoring results were false positives.

Berkeley Lab Project to Pinpoint Methane ‘Super Emitters’

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas that traps about 30 times more heat than carbon dioxide, is commonly released from rice fields, dairies, landfills, and oil and gas facilities – all of which are plentiful in California. Now Berkeley Lab has been awarded $6 million by the state to find “super emitters” of methane in an effort to quantify and potentially mitigate methane emissions.