Sierra Nevada Research Institute

photo of the mountains in the sierra nevadas

A stream flowing through Yosemite.

The beautiful Sierra Nevada are a living laboratory for the nearly 40 faculty members from all disciplines who are affiliated with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, UC Merced’s first, and still premier, research institute.

On, above and below the Earth’s surface, from the mountain peaks to the Valley floor, SNRI affiliates conduct cross-disciplinary research that affects not only the San Joaquin Valley, but the state, the nation, and the world, from climate change, water and wildfire to evolution, environmental engineering and archaeology.

The San Joaquin Valley and the Sierra Nevada regions of California are legendary for their vast natural resources, physical and biological diversity and cultural heritage. These regions lead the nation in agricultural production and in several natural resource and recreation industries.

However, rapid population growth, competition for natural resources, air, water and soil pollution, climate change and competing land uses pose serious threats to the regions’ sustainability.

SNRI operates a research facility in Yosemite National Park — the only UC research station in a national park  and has an enduring partnership with Yosemite for projects including groundbreaking research by faculty members and students, and leadership and environmental stewardship opportunities for students from all over the country.