An ecologist who studies how climate change influences forests, Xi Yang uses satellite remote sensing and other spectroscopic methods to research the climatic controls on vegetation photosynthesis and related plant functioning, the feedbacks of vegetation to the climate, and the impact of climate change on vegetation phenology.
Yang completed his Ph.D. in 2014 at Brown University, where he was the recipient of two named fellowships (Stanley-Watson; Hartnett) and was the co-principal investigator of the Institute at Brown for Environment & Society (IBES) Small Grants. During his graduate studies, Yang designed a novel field spectroscopic system that measures the solar-induced fluorescence—a tiny amount of light emitted from leaves during photosynthesis that can tell us how much is photosynthesis. He uses advanced computation approaches, such as data assimilation, to bridge the gap between observations and models to improve our predictions of carbon, water and energy fluxes, and Yang plans to use this new technique to better understand how forests are impacted by the changing climate.
Yang’s work has been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research and other journals. This academic year, he will be teaching Remote Sensing Application courses.