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Research Interests

My general research interests are environmental modeling, terrestrial and aquatic biogeochemical cycling, ecosystem ecology, climatic and environmental change, spatial hydrology and geographic information science. My specific research interests, via field observation and measurements and ecosystem modeling, are to examine how the hydrological and biogeochemical cycling in boreal peatlands and forests changes with human disturbances either indirectly due to climate change or directly by land-use change and how these changes in functions affect the ecosystem services provided by boreal peatlands and forest. My extended research interests include other types of wetlands, boreal forests and cultivated soils for water quality improvement within a catchment context, air and soil quality protection, maintenance of C sequestration function, ecosystem restoration, and sustainable management of natural resources. The knowledge gained from my research will provide a framework for identifying applied techniques for maintaining ecological resilience, ecosystem restoration and sustainable utilization of natural resources under various management, land-use options and climate change scenarios.

Broadly, I would like to explore the following research questions: How do natural and/or human-induced disturbance such as land use and land cover changes, fire, insect infestation influence the carbon cycling of terrestrial ecosystems (especially boreal forests and peatlands) under the changing climate? How would the carbon cycling of northern peatlands  respond to the changing climate at the global scale and/or regional scale?  How do peatland vegetation communities dynamically respond to climate change?  How does permafrost feedback respond to climate changes in terms of CO2 and methane cycling through its energy and hydrological controls on biogeochemistry?  How can the peatland ecosystem be included in the global carbon-climate coupled model?  I have already been using field experiments, measurements and ecosystem modeling to tackle some of these research questions.

To further develop peatland C model that can estimate and project the sensitivity of the vulnerable peatland C pool to climate and land-use changes, the long-term objective of my research program is to understand how the C cycling in northern peatlands is altered by climate and/or land-use change, and eventually to incorporate that knowledge into peatland ecosystem C models.  

The more specific research questions guiding my research program, regarding the land-use change, are as follows:

 (1) How does drainage affect CO2 and water exchanges of the drained bog pasture? (2) How does drainage change CH4 emission of the drained bog pasture? (3) How do the relationships between the environmental controlling variables and C cycling differ between drained and pristine peatlands? and (4) How can these changes in biogeochemical properties be parameterized in the McGill Wetland Model (MWM)? 

 The more specific research questions guiding my research program, regarding the climate change and human disturbance, are as follows:

(1) how does the warming and N addition interactively regulate the GHG emissions from boreal peatlands and how are they modulated by vegetation composition? and (2) how does the warming and N addition regulate the water use efficiency (WUE) of boreal peatlands and how are they modulated by vegetation composition?