Research StaffPh.D. Rebecca Hernandez

Rebecca R. Her­nan­dez, Ph.D.
UC President’s Post­doc­toral Fel­low 
Energy and Resources Group, Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley
Cli­mate and Car­bon Sci­ences Pro­gram, Earth Sci­ences Divi­sion, Lawrence Berke­ley National Laboratory

Per­sonal web­site: www​.rebec​ca​rher​nan​dez​.com

Con­nect with me: Google Scholar, Research­Gate

My work exam­ines processes where human and nat­ural sys­tems inter­act and those that elu­ci­date the func­tion­ing of the Earth sys­tem. Answer­ing pure eco­log­i­cal research ques­tions and solv­ing crit­i­cal envi­ron­men­tal prob­lems through applied work are impor­tant to me. My research pro­gram to date is com­prised of three inter­con­nected themes:

1 | Energy Geog­ra­phy and Devel­op­ment  –  My energy research is moti­vated by the belief that every human should have access to energy in a man­ner that is sus­tain­able with the Earth sys­tem. I study the inter­sec­tion between energy devel­op­ment and the envi­ron­ment, and par­tic­u­larly how solar energy can be deployed to reduce green­house gas emis­sions, water deficits, and land-​​cover change. I am inter­ested in elu­ci­dat­ing how renew­able energy devel­op­ment can be real­ized at policy-​​relevant timescales to address issues of energy inse­cu­rity, cli­mate change, and global envi­ron­men­tal change.

 2 | Global Change in Arid­lands – My global change research is moti­vated by the fact that over one-​​third (41%) of Earth’s ter­res­trial sur­face is arid, semi­arid, or dry-​​subhumid. Together, these water-​​stressed bio­mes sup­port 38% of the global pop­u­la­tion. Arid­lands have been iden­ti­fied as highly vul­ner­a­ble to global change-​​type threats and yet they remain vastly under­stud­ied despite their impor­tance for ecosys­tem ser­vices that humans depend on. I am inter­ested in impacts, mit­i­ga­tion, and pri­or­i­ties of global change-​​type threats on var­i­ous com­po­nents of arid­land ecosystems.

3 | Soil Ecol­ogy and Bio­geo­chem­istry – My soil ecol­ogy research is moti­vated by the fact that soils are the most under­stud­ied com­po­nent of the Earth sys­tem and yet have enor­mous impacts on its func­tion. My research seeks to under­stand the micro­bial ecol­ogy and bio­geo­chem­istry of soils, espe­cially how soil car­bon moves in soils across time and space, and what fac­tors lead to these changes. One such fac­tor includes the role of plants that form sym­bi­otic rela­tion­ships with myc­or­rhizal fungi, which in turn cre­ate vast under­ground net­works of car­bon through­out the soil ecosystem.

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Energy & Resources Group
310 Barrows Hall
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-3050
Phone: (510) 642-1640
Fax: (510) 642-1085