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:



Di's paper titled Mapping dynamics of soil organic matter in croplands with MODIS data and machine learning algorithms is published in Science of the Total Environment.

Our global, OCO-2 based SIF product (GOSIF) is freely available at our data depository. GOSIF consists of global, 0.05-degree SIF estimates at 8-day intervals over the period 2000-2017. Compared with the coarse-resolution SIF (e.g., 1-degree, monthly) that was directly aggregated from OCO-2 soundings (2014-present), GOSIF has finer spatial resolution, globally continuous coverage, and a much longer record. Our GOSIF product is useful for assessing terrestrial photosynthesis and ecosystem function and benchmarking terrestrial biosphere and Earth system models. [Download GOSIF data]

Xing's paper titled A Global, 0.05-Degree Product of Solar-Induced Chlorophyll Fluorescence Derived from OCO-2, MODIS, and Reanalysis Data is published today in Remote Sensing.


Our response to a letter commenting on our 2018 GCB paper is now available online: Solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence exhibits a universal relationship with gross primary productivity across a wide variety of biomes.

Di's manuscript titled Comparison on two synergy approaches for hybrid cropland mapping is now published in Remote Sensing. Di also ended her visit and returned to China.

A review article on urban heat islands titled Satellite remote sensing of surface urban heat islands: Progress, challenges, and perspectives is now published in Remote Sensing. This review is led by Decheng Zhou and Jingfeng Xiao. Decheng is an associate professor at Nanjing Univ. of Information & Science Technology. Steve Frolking at ESRC also coauthored the paper.



Xiaojuan will end her 16-mo visit at our group and return to China by the end of the month. She has been working on carbon dynamics and evaluation of vegetation indices and other satellite data products.

Jingfeng, Xing, Xiaojuan, and Hang attended the AGU meeting at Washington DC. Jingfeng gave two presentations (with one on flux uncertainty and one on spring phenology) and organized two sessions (with one on carbon cycle uncertainty and one on soil organic carbon). Xing gave a presentation on the relationship between SIF and photosynthesis.


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.


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