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Food, Agriculture and Aquaculture

Research Centers

California Center for Algae Biotechnology (Cal-CAB)

The focus of Cal-CAB is the sustainable production of liquid transportation fuels from algae to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide independence from foreign oil supplies.

Food & Fuel for the 21st Century (FF21)

Food & Fuel for the 21st Century (FF21) facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration to tackle significant research objectives regarding the use of photosynthetic organisms for enhanced food production and energy independence. It supports the development of innovative, sustainable and commercially viable solutions for the renewable production of food, energy, green chemistry and bioproducts using photosynthetic organisms.

Research Areas

Fisheries Biology and Management

Studying marine environments and the monitoring and management of their living resources. The field includes ecological studies and analysis, population modeling, data collection and working with communities to ensure sustainability.

Labs, Projects, Programs and Collaborations

Community Gardens at UC San Diego

UC San Diego has several campus gardens and one San Diego community garden that promote education and the growth of sustainable food and local produce.

Marine Aquaculture Research & Development (MARDEV)

The Marine Aquaculture Research & Development (MARDEV) project focuses on applied aquaculture of commercially valuable seaweeds. The research includes growth experiments of California native macroalgae in indoor and outdoor experimental culture systems.

National City Restorative Education About Plants (REAP)

The UC San Diego National City Restorative Education About Plants (REAP) is a community gardening program that addresses food insecurity in National City and promotes scientific engagement.

Roger's Community Garden

Roger's Community Garden is a place for students, staff and San Diego community members to engage in various gardening and sustainability activities. They produce food for UC San Diego, the greater San Diego community and the Triton Food Pantry. In addition, they develop UC San Diego students’ ideas for innovative sustainability projects to reduce the university’s carbon footprint.

The Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land-Use and Energy Consortium (FABLE)

The Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land-Use and Energy Consortium (FABLE) is a global consortium with teams of scientists in 20 countries modeling land use to 2050 in an integrated framework. Land use and land-use change account for 23% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, biodiversity loss is accelerating at alarming rates and the food system produces widespread undernutrition and obesity.

University of California Global Food Initiative

The University of California Global Food Initiative addresses one of the critical issues of our time: how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach eight billion by 2025.

Featured Researchers and Professors

Jennifer Burney

Associate Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy

Jennifer Burney is an environmental scientist. Her research focuses on the coupled relationships between climate and food security by measuring air pollutant emissions and concentrations, quantifying the effects of climate and air pollution on land use, food systems and human health. In addition, she seeks to understand how food production and consumption contribute to climate change and designs and evaluates technologies and strategies for adaptation and mitigation among the world’s farmers. She holds the Marshall Saunders Chancellor's Endowed Chair in Global Climate Policy and Research.

Steven Mayfield

Professor, Molecular Biology

Steven Mayfield is engineering freshwater algae to provide sustainable food, fuel and materials. The research in the Mayfield lab focuses on molecular genetics in green algae and the production of therapeutic proteins and biofuel molecules using algae as a production platform. To develop algae as a biotechnology platform, the group develops molecular tools to produce either recombinant proteins or engineered biofuel molecules.

Jennifer Smith

Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The Smith Lab focuses on understanding how humans impact marine ecosystems in tropical and local environments and developing strategies for restoring or preserving these environments for future generations. Members of the Smith Lab are performing experiments to identify ways to restore degraded habitats and are participating in expeditions to remote parts of the world to document pristine, relatively non-impacted coral reefs to set baselines and targets for conservation. In addition, Jen and her students are collectively working to identify how local impacts (overfishing, different types of pollution and the introduction of invasive species) and global impacts (climate change and ocean acidification) affect marine biodiversity and community structure.