microCT of fir needle with the mesophyll exposed in longitudinal section

Still image from an interactive 3D model of a single fir needle as captured through high-resolution X-ray micro-computed tomography (microCT) by Craig Brodersen, professor of plant physiological ecology. To explore the models, visit the Brodersen Lab's 3D data portal.

Research & Impact

Learned in the classroom, practiced in the field, impacting our world.

On This Page

    Our faculty, students, and alumni are conducting innovative research that is changing how we understand and approach the environment, conservation, and sustainability. We’re turning wood into biodegradable plastics, re-imagining the urban tree lifecycle, and engineering plants to fight climate change — creating critical knowledge and new perspectives to solve environmental challenges across multiple disciplines and scales.

    Paper in a Page

    A Critical Breakthrough in Mapping Global Methane Emissions from Rivers and Streams

    Peter A. Raymond,  Shaoda Liu,  Giuseppe Amatulli,  Gerard Rocher-Ros,  Emily H. Stanley,  Luke C. Loken,  Nora J. Casson and Ryan A. Sponseller


    Methane emissions have contributed to about 30% of current global warming. A comprehensive understanding of methane sources is critical for climate modeling and mitigation. Freshwater ecosystems account for roughly half of global methane emissions in the atmosphere, but the specific amount is highly uncertain because estimates from rivers and streams vary widely.

    To generate a more accurate estimate the scientists created a Global River Methane Database comprised of all empirical observations of methane rivers, 24,000 records of methane concentrations, and more than 8,000 measurements of methane emissions. The research team then combined those observations with high-resolution hydrological datasets that capture the movement of water in rivers and applied machine learning tools to predict global methane concentrations and emissions to provide the most comprehensive estimate to date of monthly methane emissions from rivers and streams worldwide. According to their findings, about 27 teragrams of methane is emitted globally from rivers and streams, which is about a quarter of the methane produced by fossil fuels. The research will help scientists working on the Global Carbon Project, which estimates global budgets for three main greenhouse gases—methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide—and investigates the complex system of the carbon cycle.

    Figure 3

    Fig. 3 | Seasonal patterns of CH4 emissions. Left: total monthly CH4 emissions for each latitudinal band (10° bins), with the colour representing total river area. Right: total yearly emissions for each latitudinal band. In the left panel, the y axis is square-root transformed, and the colour scale is log transformed.

    Marlyse Duguid conducting a forest ecology talk for new students


    Yale School of the Environment faculty are a diverse group of field-defining scholars who continue to break new ground in the areas of biodiversity, climate change, energy, policy, business, industrial ecology and green chemistry, urban systems, and environmental justice, among other disciplines.

    Explore YSE Faculty

    Research in the News

    Impact through Centers, Programs, and Initiatives

    Students, faculty, and staff come together within more than 20 YSE-affiliated centers and programs, which provide collaborative research opportunities, relevant professional experience, and engaging conferences and outreach programs.

    County-level map of climate opinions
    Centers & Programs

    Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC)

    YPCCC is a leader in climate change communication, tracking Americans’ perception of climate change at all scales and building public and political will for climate action.

    Map of every street tree in New Haven
    Centers & Programs

    Urban Resources Initiative (URI)

    Making New Haven more resilient, URI works with local partners to plant trees, restore community green spaces, and build bioswales to filter stormwater runoff.

    Fmers learning techniques to use silvopastoral systems
    Centers & Programs

    Environmental Leadership Training Initiative (ELTI)

    In critical natural landscapes rich in biodiversity, ELTI empowers local leaders to design and implement land use practices and initiatives that protect tropical forests and the livelihoods of local landowners and their communities.

    Marlyse Duguid teaching in the Yale-Myers Forest
    Centers & Programs

    Yale Forests

    Our homes away from home, Yale Forests manage 10,777 acres of forestland that provide educational, research, and professional opportunities to the Yale community and beyond.

    Participants in a 2022 TFD visit a facility in Finland
    Centers & Programs

    The Forests Dialogue (TFD)

    The Forests Dialogue provides a platform for ongoing, multi-stakeholder conversations focused on collaborative solutions to challenges in achieving sustainable forest management and forest conservation.

    Centers & Programs

    Affiliated: Yale Center for Natural Carbon Capture

    Finding solutions to climate change through advances in natural carbon sequestration.

    Workers disassembling eltrical equipment
    Centers & Programs

    Center for Industrial Ecology (CIE)

    Leading the way in an emerging field, the Center for Industrial Ecology focuses research, teaching, and outreach on how resources are converted to products, the pollution that comes from these processes, and opportunities to reduce resource use and pollution.

    Satellite image of the New Haven area

    Stay YSE Current

    Subscribe to YSE 3 for bi-weekly news and research updates.

    Subscribe to “YSE 3”
    An ELM participant presenting his research

    ELM Certificate for Postdocs

    The Environmental Leadership and Mentoring (ELM) Certificate is a nine-month transformative program that aims to empower environmentally focused postdoctoral scholars at Yale University with the vital skills and knowledge needed to excel as leaders and mentors in their respective fields.

    More About ELM