Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame




Melissa Berke

Office:  164 Fitzpatrick Hall of Engineering

Phone:  574-631-4857


Department Website

Group Website

Current Position
Assistant Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences

Ph.D., University of Minnesota
M.S., Earth Sciences, University of California Riverside
B.S., Geology, Oberlin College

Research Interests
My group uses organic geochemical signatures of past life preserved in sediments to study environmental change through time. We are involved in a series of interdisciplinary projects that look at the nature of climate forcing and environmental response. These organic remains are also the primary constituents of fossil hydrocarbon deposits tapped for traditional fuels (such as coal and oil) and can inform us about more renewable algal biofuels. A better understanding of the organic components of both of these energy sources can lead to lower environmental impact from society’s energy consumption.

Key Words
Climate Change, Environmental Change, Paleoecology, Paleolimnology, Paleoceanography, Organic Geochemistry, Sedimentary Geology, Organic Matter, Carbon Accumulation