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Support Research Initiatives

The Bren School is a leading center of environmental research conducted by faculty, PhD students, postdoctoral students, and master’s students. Research is pursued in the following: 

  • Natural sciences - including microbiology, ecology, and other environmental sciences 
  • Earth Sciences – including hydrology, geography, and geomorphology
  • Political Science and Law as they relate to the environment 
  • Environmental Economics and other Social Sciences 
  • Computer Science and Geo-Informatics 
  • Industrial Ecology – including life cycle assessment, material flow analysis, and risk management

A number of programs, initiatives, centers, and other entities provide further points of connection and collaboration between researchers at Bren and colleagues in other departments and universities. Learn more about Bren research.

Aquaculture nets on a blue ocean

Funds are needed to support existing, and seed emerging, research initiatives. Some examples include: 

Environmental Market Solutions Lab

The Environmental Market Solutions Lab (emLab) is an interdisciplinary team of economists and scientists dedicated to bringing market-based solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental problems. Focusing on three areas: ocean, land, and climate, emLab delivers cutting-edge research and innovative policy solutions by combining economic principles, ecological insights, and big-data analytics.

Conservation Aquaculture Research Team

The Conservation Aquaculture Research Team (CART) is a team of experts and analysts in ocean conservation, fisheries, and aquaculture with the mission of guiding this burgeoning food sector toward a future in which the industry works with, rather than against, conservation goals. Aquaculture currently accounts for over half of the seafood people eat globally. Its total production is set to surpass that of all wild-caught fisheries by 2025. CART is the new face of aquaculture science, one that works to inform the industry with the best available science for a sustainable future.

Center of Excellence in Life Cycle Assessment 

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a scientific approach to quantify environmental impacts of products throughout the life cycle from raw material extraction to manufacturing, assembly, distribution, use, and disposal. LCA has evolved into a truly multidisciplinary field of science, however many institutions struggle to translate research into real-life business and policy applications. The Center of Excellence in LCA aims to significantly advance LCA theory, application, and education by creating and disseminating cutting-edge knowledge through the Bren School’s network of multidisciplinary experts, field practitioners, and educators. 

Environmental Justice Implications of the Footprint of Global Food Production

Building on a recent project to map the global environmental footprint of food production, this research seeks to understand how these environmental footprints intersect with issues of environmental justice. Researchers are exploring how recommendations for shifts in diets can lead to unjust outcomes for workers around the work, and how the import of less sustainable foods can allow countries to 'export' their environmental footprint.

Saving the King of Pine Trees from Extinction

Even the largest pine trees in the world — trees that have survived 500 years of fires, droughts, and bark beetles – are succumbing to climate change. The king of pines, commonly known as the sugar pine tree, is facing local extirpation in the southern Sierra Nevada. Scientists from the Bren School, such as Assistant Professor Joan Dudney, are working with Yosemite National Park and local non-profits to develop a long-term management strategy to prevent the local extinction of sugar pine, a species that provides critical habitat for many important wildlife species.

Climate as an Ecosystem Disruptor

Marine ecosystems are dynamic and sensitive to many aspects of physical climate, from temperature to nutrient availability, among others. As climate change continues, long-term trends in climate are expected to interact with naturally occurring year-to-year climate variability, creating more and more destructive impacts. Using state-of-the-art computer models of the global climate system, Bren School Assistant Professor Sam Stevenson and other researchers are analyzing how the physics of these climate "disruptor events" is expected to change in the future - and what the range of expected ecosystem impacts might be in all the major world oceans.

COVID-19 Bio-Logging Initiative

In the midst of the tragic circumstances brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, reports quickly emerged that wildlife appeared to literally be taking back ground. Researchers around the globe, including Bren School Assistant Professor Ruth Oliver, founded a collaborative initiative to understand whether these stories represented a widespread phenomenon and what they could reveal about how wildlife coexist with humans more broadly. Using animal tracking data, they are untangling the ways that wildlife respond to our presence, with the goal of supporting policies that manage our impact as the planet grows more crowded. For more information, check out their Comment published in Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Firefighters combating wildfire perimeter with hoses

Want to get involved? Reach out to the Bren School for more information about supporting Research Initiatives.

Lotus Vermeer

Assistant Dean of Partnerships & Development
(805) 893-3712

Beth Pitton-August

Director of Development
(805) 893-5047

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