Global Ecology Group
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About our group

Our research is motivated by the compelling need to understand the impacts of climate change and human activities on the Earth’s biosphere and the feedbacks to the climate. We strive to answer major science questions on global carbon/water cycles, climate-vegetation interactions, ecosystem dynamics, and coupled natural and human systems. We combine terrestrial biosphere modeling, remote sensing, field measurements, upscaling, model-data fusion, and statistical analysis to answer these science questions.




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Highlights on recent papers:

Li, X.*, Xiao, J., He, B., Arain, M.A., Beringer, J., Desai, A.R., Emmel, C., Hollinger, D.Y., Krasnova, A., Mammarella, I., Noe, S.M., Ortiz, P.S., Rey-Sanchez, C., Rocha, A.V., Varlagin, A. (2018) Solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence is strongly correlated with terrestrial photosynthesis for a wide variety of biomes: First global analysis based on OCO-2 and flux tower observations. Global Change Biology, 24, 3990-4008. [PDF]

Li, X.*, Xiao, J., He, B. (2018) Higher absorbed solar radiation partly offset the negative effects of water stress on the photosynthesis of Amazon forests during the 2015 drought. Environmental Research Letters, 13, 044005, [PDF] [Supplementary material]

Li, X.*, Xiao, J., He, B. (2018) Chlorophyll fluorescence observed by OCO-2 is strongly related to gross primary productivity estimated from flux towers in temperate forests. Remote Sensing of Environment, 204, 659-671. [PDF]

Liu, Y.*, Xiao, J., Ju, W., Zhu, G., Wu, X., Fan, W., Li, D., Zhou, Y. (2018) Satellite-derived LAI products exhibit large discrepancies and can lead to substantial uncertainty in simulated carbon and water fluxes. Remote Sensing of Environment, 206, 174-188. [PDF]

Wang, X.*, Xiao, J., Li, X., Cheng, G., Ma, M., Che, T., Dai, L., Wang, S., Wu, J. (2017) No consistent evidence for advancing or delaying trends in spring phenology on the Tibetan Plateau. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 122, 3288–3305, DOI: 10.1002/2017JG003949. [PDF]


Group news:



Hang Xu joined the group for his 18-month visit. Hang is currently a PhD student at Beijing Forestry University. He will be conducting research in ecosystem ecology and modeling. Welcome, Hang!


Weizhi and Haibo ended their one-year visits at our group and returned to China. Weizhi has been working on carbon dynamics, disturbance, and successions of coastal wetlands. Haibo has been synthesizing carbon fluxes in drylands and optimizing models with new satellite measurments.


Jingfeng gave invited talks at Institute of Subtropical Agriculture and Central South University of Forestry and Technology.

Jingfeng gave a 2-hour lecture on how to write good scientific articles at the USCCC Writing Workshop and gave an invited talk on our recent work on solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence at the USCCC Annual Meeting.

The proposal led by Haibo is now funded by National Science Foundation of China. This three-year project (¥600, 000) will focus on vegetation production upscaling in arid regions by integrating solar induced chlorophyll fluorescence data with ecological models.


Jingfeng gave invited talks at Peking University, Institute of Remote Sensing & Digital Earth (Chinese Academy of Sciences), Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and Xi'an Jiaotong University.


Our GCB paper on the universal relationship between solar-induced fluorescence and photosynthesis globally is highlighted by Nature Climate Change on June 29, 2018: Mapping photosynthesis.

University of New Hampshire. "Researchers shine a light on more accurate way to estimate climate change." ScienceDaily, 5 June 2018.

UNH TODAY. UNH Researchers Shine a Light on More Accurate Way To Estimate Land-based Photosynthesis. 5 June 2018.

Weizhi's manuscript on saline seepweed red beaches is accepted for publication by Ecosphere. Salt marshes dominated by saline seepweed (Suaeda heteroptera) provide important ecosystem services such as sequestering carbon (“blue carbon”), maintaining healthy fisheries, and protecting shorelines. "Red beaches" also constitute stunning landscapes and attract lots of tourists every year. Our study finds that human activities accelerated the degradation of these red beaches by influencing top-down (e.g., grazers) and bottom-up (e.g., sediment accretion) forces.


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Prospective graduate students and postdocs (and visiting students or scholars):

Our group may have positions open for highly-motivated and productive graduate students or postdocs. Please contact me if you are interested. We also host highly-motivated visiting students or scholars.



Special issues:

Afforestation and Reforestation: Drivers, Dynamics, and Impacts, Forests, Guest editors: J. Xiao, G. Sun, L. Hao, G. Dong, Z. Zhang (deadline: July 25, 2018)


Impacts of Extreme Climate Events and Disturbances on Carbon Dynamics, Biogeosciences, Guest Editors: J. Xiao, S. Liu, P. Stoy


Advances in Upscaling of Eddy Covariance Measurements of Carbon and Water Fluxes, Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences, Guest Editors: J. Xiao, K.J. Davis, M. Reichestein, J.Chen