Check out the press release from USDA/NIFA on our paper showing that wildfires change streamwater chemistry in CA (USA)
Book Chapter: 

Santos, F., Abney, R., Barnes, M., Bogie, N., Ghezzehei, T. A., Jin, L., Moreland, K., Sulman, B. N., Berhe, A. A. (2019). The role of the physical properties of soil in determining biogeochemical responses to soil warming. In Ecosystem Consequences of Soil Warming (pp. 209-244). Academic Press.

  • Fernanda Soils

Fernanda Santos, Ph.D.

I am a Geographer, an Environmental Scientist, and a Soil Scientist by training. Such interdisciplinary background has allowed me to explore different components of the Earth system. Currently, my research interests lie in the exciting field of environmental biogeochemistry.

I am generally interested in processes that control:

  • transformation of organic matter in soils;

  • the mobility of carbon within the soil system;

  • the transport of organic matter from land to rivers, and how these processes are affected by environmental/ecological disturbances such as fires;

  • how soils alter aquatic ecosystems in watersheds.


Most of my work is focused on soil - an important source of organic carbon. Soil locks up large amounts of organic carbon. Most of this carbon is derived from organic matter (e.g. leaves, twigs, and needles) that enters in the soil and undergoes numerous transformation, mobilization and transport processes. To investigate these processes, I use a combination of state-of-the-art techniques (such as spectroscopy and spectrometry) that allow me to quantify C in the environment and study individual molecules that contain carbon to understand how stable and mobile organic matter is in soil.

This can help us further understand:

  • the impact of fires on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems;

  • the role of soils in (1) mitigating the impacts of a changing climate, (2) influencing water quality, and (3) aquatic ecosystems.


And improve:

  • soil and watershed management practices to maintain the health and resilience of ecosystems.

At UC Merced, I collaborate with Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Jing Yan and Teamrat Ghezzehei

© 2016 by Fernanda Santos. Proudly created with

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