UC Merced
UC Water Program Coordinator

Bernacchi pursues questions about the intersections of science and policy and scientists and the public through quantitative and qualitative research methods. She is particularly interested in how the communication of scientific concepts affects public participation and natural resources management.

UC Water Connection: 

Leigh Bernacchi joined UC Water in August 2015 as the program coordinator. She handles internal and external communication, framing UC Water research within the context of California’s water problems and solutions. To stay up to date with UC Water communications, follow us on twitter or email to join our listserv.


Hailing from Mariposa, California and with a background in agriculture and natural resources management, Leigh applies social science theory to the practice of communication. Her research interests include public understanding of science; climate change adaptation; and more locally, the Tuolumne River within Yosemite National Park where she was a naturalist ranger. She holds a PhD from Texas A&M University in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. Whether on UC Merced’s campus or off, Leigh enjoys birdwatching and hiking.