Dr. Martha Conklin, Professor of Engineering and member of the Environmental Systems Graduate Group, joined UC Merced in 2003 as part of the Founding Faculty. For most of her career, Dr. Conklin, has focused on groundwater-surface water interactions, determining timescales of reactions that occur at this interface as well as groundwater contributions to stream flow using natural tracers. Dr. Conklin is Co-PI of the National Science Foundation's Sierra Nevada Critical Zone Observatory located at the Kings River Experimental Watershed. She is lead on both a science project to understand water and nutrient budgets in montane meadows and the education and outreach efforts. As a member of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI https://snri.ucmerced.edu) Dr. Conklin studies water quality, water movement and the interaction of surface water and groundwater in natural settings. Dr. Conklin has conducted extensive research in the field of organic chemical distribution in soil and groundwater and chemical processes in snow. She has published numerous papers, as well as served on a National Research Council committee and as an associate editor of Water Resources Research (WRR).

Dr. Conklin has nearly ten years experience working with Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE http://www.globe.gov/), a science education program funded by NSF and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that promotes worldwide collaboration of primary and secondary students and teachers with scientists in environmental research. She is currently on the board for the Yosemite Institute, a non-profit educational institute that brings 13,000 CA 6-12 grade students to Yosemite National Park (http://yni.org/yi/). Dr. Conklin earned a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology.

Professor, School of

Environmental Systems
Graduate Group

Current Research

Dr. Conklin's highly interdisciplinary research focuses on how dissolved (both inorganic and organic) constituents move through streams and their complex surroundings. Her research gives insight into paths water take and characteristic times of dominant processes (e.g. how long does it take snowmelt to reach streams or what is the rate of evapotranspiration in meadows, or what is the source of groundwater discharge in a stream). Most recently she has focused on montane headwater catchments.


The world's climate is changing and California is now being affected in both dramatic and subtle ways. Get an in-depth look at the science behind climate change as we explore the environmental changes taking place throughout the state. Dr. Conklin's interview begins at the three minute mark in the video.

QUEST on KQED Public Media.
University of California, Merced 5200 North Lake Rd, Merced, CA 95343