The mission of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI) is to discover and disseminate new knowledge that contributes to sustaining natural resources and promoting social well being in the San Joaquin Valley and Sierra Nevada regions of California, and related regions worldwide, through integrated research in the natural, social and engineering sciences.
The mission of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute is accomplished through:
- Collaborative, multidisciplinary, fundamental research conducted by faculty, students, staff and affiliated scientists in natural sciences, engineering, and social sciences.
- Strong interactions with related research units within the UC system and close collaborative relations with scientists and managers at national laboratories, and local, state and federal agencies, including the National Park Service.
- Connecting objective, science-based data and information with public and private stakeholders.
- The Sierra Nevada Research Institute is organized around an Environmental Systems model. A particular emphasis is on the physical and biological connections that exist between the Central Valley and Sierra ecosystems. Through these balanced research efforts, the Sierra Nevada Research Institute serves as a source of objective scientific information for public policy makers as California faces the growing challenge of sustaining the integrity and quality of its resources into the future.
Through the Sierra Nevada Research Institute our students and faculty have access to a variety of biological field stations in Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks. In May 2004, Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada Research Institute dedicated the first of these stations, located in Wawona. The Wawona station gives logistical support for academic field research and outreach activities in Yosemite National Park. In addition, the Virginia Smith Trust Reserve adjacent to the UC Merced campus provides additional sites for research.
UC Merced faculty currently affiliated with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute are working on climate change and ecosystem health, contaminant transformations in soils and aquatic systems, development of environmental sensors, hydrologic processes in the Sierra Nevada, nutrient transport in agricultural and natural systems, water and air quality in the Valley basin and Sierra Nevada Range, and computational ecology and biodiversity.