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.
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.
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.
Berkeley Lab climate experts have partnered with the City and County of San Francisco and Silvestrum Climate Associates to assess how climate change may influence the intensity of atmospheric rivers and associated precipitation, and how those changes may impact San Francisco and its infrastructure.
Scientists investigating how human-induced increases in atmospheric methane also increase the amount of solar energy absorbed by that gas in our climate system have discovered that this absorption is 10 times stronger over desert regions such as the Sahara Desert and Arabian Peninsula than elsewhere on Earth, and nearly three times more powerful in the presence of clouds.
Scientists at Berkeley Lab, including researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute, have developed a workflow that enables large-scale, genome-wide assays of gene importance across many conditions. Their work is by far the largest functional genomics study of bacteria ever published.
Building on methods they used to assess the impact of hurricanes such as Katrina, Gustav, and Rita on forests and tree mortality, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have produced a rapid mapping of the disturbance intensity across Puerto Rico’s forests with the help of Google Earth Engine.
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.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 is one of the most studied spills in history, yet scientists haven’t agreed on the role of microbes in eating up the oil. Now a research team at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has identified all of the
The massive natural gas leak at Aliso Canyon shined a light on California’s aging natural gas infrastructure. And five years of extreme drought also exacted its toll on transmission pipelines. Now Berkeley Lab has been awarded $4.6 million by the California Energy Commission for two projects aimed at improving the safety and reliability of the state’s natural gas system.