Programs

Atmospheric System Research

This program’s focus is to improve understanding of surface atmosphere exchanges of carbon, water, and energy, and their roles in ecosystem-climate interactions, as well as to quantify the convective transport of CO2, water, mass, and momentum.

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Bioenergy

Research projects in ESD’s Bioenergy Program apply synthetic biology, bioengineering, and microbiology to foster renewable fuel production. Key themes of the Bioenergy Program include: (1) developing novel biofuel pathways in bacteria, (2) exploiting microbial metabolic diversity for biofuel production and lignocellulose deconstruction, and (3) mitigating petroleum souring.

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Climate Modeling

This program aims to develop global process-resolving models to help quantify the roles of climate feedbacks in anthropogenic climate change. Abrupt and extreme climate changes from anthropogenic warming pose some of the greatest risks to society and the environment. Understanding of the complex interactions involved with feedbacks is critical.

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Ecosystems Biology

The Ecosystems Biology Program focuses on discovering and understanding the molecular basis of microbial interactions, including specific gene functions, species interactions, and community dynamics under a variety of environmental conditions—and developing the advanced technology that enables such understanding.

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Geologic Carbon Sequestration

The Geological Carbon Sequestration Program uses theory along with lab, field, and simulation approaches to investigate processes needed to inform and guide the safe and effective implementation of geologic carbon sequestration.

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Geothermal Systems

The Geothermal Systems Program has three research thrusts: (1) developing innovative technologies for identifying and producing energy from “hidden natural hydrothermal systems; (2) developing enhanced geothermal systems; and (3) developing reservoirs, including monitoring and analysis of induced seismicity before, during, and after hydraulic stimulation.

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Hydrocarbon Resources

The Hydrocarbon Resources Program focuses on developing an understanding of the basic concepts and processes governing the storage and nonisothermal flow of hydrocarbons in porous media during production, as well as an understanding of associated coupled processes and phenomena involved in resource development and production.

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Nuclear Energy and Waste

The role of the Nuclear Energy and Waste Program is to perform fundamental and applied Earth-sciences-related research concerning the safe, secure, and responsible use of nuclear energy, as well as the safe storage and disposal of used nuclear fuel and waste.

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Terrestrial Ecosystem Science

This program’s focus is to understand and explain mechanisms and processes controlling primary production, carbon cycling, and soil biogeochemistry; the impacts of disturbance on terrestrial ecosystems; and ecosystem feedbacks to climate in vulnerable environments. In addition, it seeks to establish and maintain environmental field observatories.

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