Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Biological and Environmental Research

Understanding how genomic information is translated to functional capabilities, and the roles of Earth’s biogeochemical systems so we can predict climate decades or centuries into the future.

Conducting research into sustainable biofuel production, improved carbon storage, and climate driven by a foundation of scientific knowledge and inquiry in atmospheric chemistry and physics, ecology, biology, and biogeochemistry

The DOE Office of Science's Biological and Environmental Research program addresses diverse and critical global challenges related to biofuels, carbon storage, the cleanup of contaminants, and climate prediction. The program conducts research into sustainable biofuel production, improved carbon storage, or contaminant bioremediation.

This research advances our understanding of the roles of Earth’s atmosphere, land, oceans, sea ice, and subsurface in determining climate—helping us plan for future energy and resource needs.

Los Alamos provides research activities and facilities in support of this mission, through the following:

  • The Los Alamos BER Science Focus Area team for Soil Metagenomics and Carbon Cycling develops and uses community genomics approaches to link the biological processes controlling belowground carbon storage and release to the community of microorganisms conducting those processes. The program’s 10-year vision is to improve climate modeling and enable carbon management in terrestrial ecosystems by understanding the microbial and ecosystem factors that control carbon partitioning in soils. The collective studies span the molecular, cellular, microbial community and ecosystem level scales. 
  • Over the past 15 years, Los Alamos has developed a strong program in numerical modeling of the oceans and sea ice, with special emphasis on high-performance computing.  We continue to  develop, test and apply ocean and ice models in support of DOE Climate Change Research and the Long Term Measure of delivering improved climate data and models needed to determine acceptable levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. 
  • The Los Alamos Field Deployments and Operations Office manages BER Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Infrastructure including recent deployments at Graciosa Island in the Azores and a major international experiment to study climate impacts on the Amazon.
  • As part of the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE) in the Arctic, Los Alamos leads the fine-scale model development of arctic terrestrial and subsurface processes. The NGEE team is also conducting experimental work in the vicinity of Barrow, Alaska at the surface and subsurface through synoptic surveys of small- and large-scale hydrological features.

Los Alamos Principal Investigators have been the recipient of three BER Early Career Awards.