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 A group of ORNL staff standing in a long corridor with flags hanging from the ceiling

For 25 years, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have used their broad expertise in human health risk assessment, ecology, radiation protection, toxicology and information management to develop widely used tools and data for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of the agency’s Superfund program.

Scientists conducted microbial DNA sampling at a Yellowstone National Park hot spring for a study sponsored by DOE’s Biological and Environmental Research program, the National Science Foundation and NASA. Credit: Mircea Podar/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists studied hot springs on different continents and found similarities in how some microbes adapted despite their geographic diversity.

Yaoping Wang. Credit: Yaoping Wang

Yaoping Wang, postdoctoral research associate at ORNL, has received an Early Career Award from the Asian Ecology Section, or AES, of the Ecological Society of America.

Madhavi Martin portrait image

Madhavi Martin brings a physicist’s tools and perspective to biological and environmental research at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, supporting advances in bioenergy, soil carbon storage and environmental monitoring, and even helping solve a murder mystery.

From left, Gladisol Smith Vega prepares to collect field data on the Oak Ridge Reservation with mentor Scott Brooks. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL. U.S. Dept. of Energy

Nearly 100 interns were introduced to Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s biological and environmental research over the summer of 2023 as mentors and students were eager to share knowledge and skills to address the nation’s energy and environmental challenges.

Chlorella Vulgaris

In the search for ways to fight methylmercury in global waterways, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory discovered that some forms of phytoplankton are good at degrading the potent neurotoxin.

ORNL’s Fernanda Santos examines a soil sample at an NGEE Arctic field site in the Alaskan tundra in June 2022. Credit: Amy Breen, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Wildfires are an ancient force shaping the environment, but they have grown in frequency, range and intensity in response to a changing climate. At ORNL, scientists are working on several fronts to better understand and predict these events and what they mean for the carbon cycle and biodiversity.

 Illustration of a laser-based analytical method to accelerate understanding of critical plant and soil properties with the aim of co-optimizing bioenergy plant growth and soil carbon storage

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers recently demonstrated use of a laser-based analytical method to accelerate understanding of critical plant and soil properties that affect bioenergy plant growth and soil carbon storage.

Researchers Melissa Cregger, left, and Xiaohan Yang examine plants in an ORNL greenhouse where biosensors are installed to accelerate plant transformations. Credit: Genevieve Martin/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Nature-based solutions are an effective tool to combat climate change triggered by rising carbon emissions, whether it’s by clearing the skies with bio-based aviation fuels or boosting natural carbon sinks.

Colleen Iversen is the new director of NGEE Arctic, leading a large cross-disciplinary team of scientists in pursuit of a better understanding of Arctic climate processes. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Colleen Iversen, ecosystem ecologist, group leader and distinguished staff scientist, has been named director of the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments Arctic, or NGEE Arctic, a multi-institutional project studying permafrost thaw and other climate-related processes in Alaska.