College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

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October 30, 2008

Indonesian biodiversity grant, CNR toxicologist seeks to discover human health solutions in Indonesian biodiversity

University of California scientists have received a five-year, $4 million grant to study the biodiversity of fungi, bacteria, plants, insects and vertebrates on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, a southeast Asian island threatened by the loss of biodiversity in its tropical forests.

An international team of collaborators will conduct biodiversity surveys, screen microbes and plants for applications to human health and energy needs, recommend strategies to conserve endangered species, and develop and encourage local conservation. The project is organized into six associate programs -- five led by UC Davis scientists while one program, focusing on discovery of human health solutions is being led by Len Bjeldanes, professor of toxicology at CNR.

The grant is funded by the International Cooperative Biodiversity Group Program, a multi-agency program led by the National Institutes of Health with contributions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation.

October 20, 2008

Green Policies in California Generated Jobs

From the New York Times: "California’s energy-efficiency policies created nearly 1.5 million jobs from 1977 to 2007, while eliminating fewer than 25,000, according to a study to be released Monday."


The study, conducted by David Roland-Holst, an economist at the Center for Energy, Resources and Economic Sustainability at the University of California, Berkeley, found that while the state’s policies lowered employee compensation in the electric power industry by an estimated $1.6 billion over that period, it improved compensation in the state over all by $44.6 billion.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/20/business/20green.html

Roland-Holst's work was widely covered by media around thew world, including:
Discover Magazine
The San Francisco Chronicle
The Los Angeles Times

October 17, 2008

On Biofuels: CNR Professors from the Energy Bioscience Institute

Above, Chris Somerville, professor of plant and microbial biology and director of the Energy Biosciences Institute, discusses the future of cellulosic biofuels.

In addition, ABC 7 News recently featured Somerville and David Zilberman, professor of agricultural and resource economics, in an excellent piece on Responsibly creating new plant biofuels (video).

Todd Dawson on the Blue Oak Ranch Reserve

Managed by UC Berkeley, the the Blue Oak Ranch Reserve is home to mature, gnarled blue oaks, valley oaks and two species of live oak, not to mention endangered California tiger salamanders, Foothill yellow-legged frogs, native trout and river otters. It is the newest of 36 California reserves overseen by the 10-campus UC system's Natural Reserve System for research and education.

The reserve's faculty director is Todd Dawson, professor of environmental science, policy and management, and of integrative biology.

Warming in Yosemite National Park sends small mammals packing to higher and cooler elevations

Global warming is causing major shifts in the range of small mammals in Yosemite National Park, one of the nation's treasures that was set aside as a public trust 144 years ago, according to a new study by University of California, Berkeley, biologists.

The study, published in the Oct. 10 issue of Science, compared small mammal populations in the park today versus 90 years ago and found that mammals like shrews, mice and ground squirrels have moved to higher elevations or reduced their ranges in response to warmer temperatures, essentially shuffling the species living together in any one spot.

"We didn't set out to study the effects of climate change, but to see what has changed and why" since the last full-scale survey in Yosemite in 1918, said study leader Craig Moritz, UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology and director of the campus's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. "But the most dramatic finding in the Yosemite transect was the upward elevational shift of species. When we asked ourselves, "What changed?" it hit us between the eyes: the climate."

Thanks to these detailed field notes recording not only when, where and what they saw and trapped but also what they failed to observe, the UC Berkeley biologists were able to perform a statistical analysis that makes the study results very solid, said coauthor and conservation biologist Steve Beissinger, UC Berkeley professor of environmental science, policy and management.

"One of the biggest problems we have when comparing the distribution of species now and in the past is false absences. If they didn't see something back then, is it because it wasn't there, or because it just wasn't detected?" he said. Employing occupancy models developed in the past few years, he added, "the Grinnell group's data allows us to go back and, night by night, reconstruct their trapping success for small mammals and develop a probability for detecting each species for Grinnell and for us. This is one of the first studies to use the model to look at climate change and historic changes in range."

Continue reading "Warming in Yosemite National Park sends small mammals packing to higher and cooler elevations" »

October 6, 2008

PMB grad student awarded fellowship by the American Society of Microbiology

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) has selected mircobiology doctoral student Joyce Cueto as a 2008-2011 award recipient of the ASM Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship. Cueto is awarded up to $21,000 annual stipend for three years to conduct research.

The Watkins fellowship seeks to increase the number of graduate students from underrepresented groups completing doctoral degrees in the microbiological sciences. The program is aimed at highly competitive students who are enrolled in a Ph.D. program and have completed their graduate coursework in the microbiological sciences. Fellows and their mentors are required to be members of ASM.

Fellows will be required to present at the ASM General Meeting annually if their abstract is accepted and attend the ASM Kadner Institute, formerly known as the ASM Graduate and Postdoctoral Summer Institute in Preparation for Careers in Microbiology one time during the three-year tenure of the fellowship.

This year, forty applications were received and five were awarded. Of the five awardees, four students were from doctoral/research universities-extensive institutions, and one student was from a doctoral/research universities-intensive institution. Among the five awardees, four additional students were recognized as Honorable Mentions.

Arash Komeili is Cueto's mentor. The title of the research is Identification of Magnetosome Cytoskeletal-Associated Proteins in Magnetospirillum magneticum sp. AMB-1.

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the oldest and largest single biological membership organization, with over 40,000 members worldwide. Please visit http://www.asm.org/Education/index.asp?bid=6278 for more information on this fellowship.

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Indonesian biodiversity grant, CNR toxicologist seeks to discover human health solutions in Indonesian biodiversity
Green Policies in California Generated Jobs
On Biofuels: CNR Professors from the Energy Bioscience Institute
Todd Dawson on the Blue Oak Ranch Reserve
Warming in Yosemite National Park sends small mammals packing to higher and cooler elevations
PMB grad student awarded fellowship by the American Society of Microbiology

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