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, DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14297. [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:



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.


PhD student Di Chen from Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences arrived for her nine-month visit. Welcome, Di!


Our new manuscript led by Xing is accepted by Global Change Biology. This study reveals the relationship between chlorophyll fluorescence and photosynthesis at the ecosystem scale across a wide variety of biomes globally for the first time using observations from OCO-2 and flux towers. This is a pioneering study. It demonstrates the potential of finer-resolution chlorophyll fluorescence from OCO-2, TROPOMI, and FLEX in ecosystem functioning and carbon cycling studies.


Xing's paper has been accepted by Environmental Research Letters. Our study shows that the reduction in photosynthesis of Amazon forests during the 2015 drought was partly offset by higher absorbed solar radiation.


Xufeng's paper titled No consistent evidence for advancing or delaying trends in spring phenology on the Tibetan Plateau is published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences today.


More news


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