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Asmeret Asefaw Berhe    

Biogeochemist, Political Ecologist & Associate Professor at the University of California Merced

Asmeret Asefaw Berhe is a soil biogeochemist, political ecologist and associate professor at University of California, Merced. Her research group works to understand how soil helps regulate the earth's climate.

Asmeret's research interests center on the effect of changing environmental conditions—specifically fire, erosion, and climate change—on important soil processes. Her group is working to understand how perturbations in the environment affect how essential elements like carbon and nitrogen cycle through the soil system.

Her research extends to political ecology, working to understand the contribution of armed conflict to land degradation and how people interact with their environment. She has co-authored a review taking stock of the relationship between global change, soil, and human security (including food security and water quality) in the 21st century, citing possible interventions and solutions for sustainable soil management.

Asmeret's work has garnered support from a number of funding sources, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the University of California President's Research Catalyst Awards, the United States Department of Energy, and more.

An advocate for women in science, Berhe is currently a Co-principal Investigator of ADVANCEGeo, which is working to transform the workplace climate of the geosciences to increase retention of women in the field and develop a sustainable model that can be transferred to other scientific domains. Currently, the Earth Science Women's Network, the Association for Women Geoscientists, and the American Geophysical Union have partnered to address the issue of sexual harassment in the earth, space and environmental sciences. The program led by Erika Marín-Spiotta and is run with support from a four-year $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

She currently serves as an advisory board member of 500 Women Scientists, a grassroots organization working to make science open, inclusive, and accessible, and is on the leadership board of the Earth Science Women's Network.

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