Doctor Mingkai Jiang

I joined the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment in June 2016 as a Research Fellow in the Ecosystem Function and Integration theme. I consider myself as an ecophysiologist and a climatologist, and I am interested in the assessment of multi-factorial impacts to plant ecophysiology and the associated ecosystem services in a changing world.

I was trained as an ecological modeler in Prof. Benjamin Felzer's lab at Lehigh University and obtained my PhD in 2016. Before that, I received my Master by Research degree in Ecology and Environmental Management from the University of York in 2011.

During my PhD, I investigated predictability of precipitation means and extremes over the conterminous United States using an information theory approach, identified regional hotspots of future changes in precipitation predictability over the U.S., and provided a novel approach defining global biomes. Additionally, I established a parameterization dataset for the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM) based on data collected from a dairy pasture in eastern U.S., and provided region-specific simulations of the productivity of Pennsylvania pasture under various future climate scenarios. I was also involved in developing a multi-layer soil module into TEM to more realistically simulate belowground physical and ecophysiological processes, and initiated a research project investigating the biogeochemical implications of stakeholder's vision-driven land use scenarios in the Pacific Northwest of United States.

I am currently a team member of Prof. Belinda Medlyn's research lab, assessing and projecting the responses of Australian Eucalyptus ecosystems to climate change.

Areas of research

  • Plant ecophysiology
  • Whole ecosystem biogeochemistry: carbon, water and nutrient budgets and interactions
  • Spatiotemporal dynamics of ecosystem services
  • Climate predictability and impacts on biological revolution and adaptation

Teaching experience

2015, Terrestrial Ecosystems, Lehigh University
2014, Ecophysiology, Lehigh University
2014, The Science of Environmental Issues, Lehigh University

To learn more about my research and teaching experiences, please visit my website at (opens in a new window)

Awards and recognition

  • 2016 The Elizabeth V. Stout PhD Dissertation Award for significant scholarly achievement at Lehigh University


2015 Lehigh University College of Arts and Sciences travel grant, USD $350
2014 Lehigh University Class of 68 Research Fellowship Award, USD $2500
2014 Lehigh University Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences Summer Research Scholarship, USD $2000
2012-2015, Lehigh University Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences travel grant, USD $600/yr

Selected publications

Crous KY, Wujeska-Klause A, Jiang MK, Medlyn BE, Ellsworth DS, (2019) 'Nitrogen and Phosphorus Retranslocation of Leaves and Stemwood in a Mature Eucalyptus Forest Exposed to 5 Years of Elevated CO2', Frontiers in Plant Science, vol.10, Article no.664

Fleischer K, Rammigl A, De Kauwe MG, Walker AP, Domingues TF, Fuchslueger L, Garcia S, Goll DS, Grandis A, Jiang MK, Haverd V, Hofhansl F, Holm JA, Kruijt B, Leung F, Medlyn BE, Mercado LM, Norby RJ, Pak B, von Randow C, Quesada CA, Schaap KJ, Valverde-Barrantes OJ, Wang YP, Yang XJ, Zaehle S, Zhu Q, Lapola DM, (2019) 'Amazon forest response to CO2 fertilization dependent on plant phosphorus acquisition', Nature Geoscience, vol.12, no.9, pp 736-741

Fry EL, De Long JR, Alvarez Garrido L, Alvarez N, Carrillo Y, Castaneda-Gomez L, Chomel M, Dondini M, Drake JE, Hasegawa S, Hortal S, Jackson BG, Jiang MK, Lavallee JM, Medlyn BE, Rhymes J, Singh BK, Smith P, Anderson IC, Bardgett RD, Baggs EM, Johnson D, (2019) 'Using plant, microbe, and soil fauna traits to improve the predictive power of biogeochemical models', Methods in Ecology and Evolution, vol.10, no.1, pp 146-157

Jiang MK, Caldararu S, Zaehle S, Ellsworth DS, Medlyn BE, (2019) 'Towards a more physiological representation of vegetation phosphorus processes in land surface models', New Phytologist, vol.222, no.3, pp 1223-1229

Jiang MK, Zaehle S, De Kauwe MG, Walker AP, Caldararu S, Ellsworth DS, Medlyn BE, (2019) 'The quasi-equilibrium framework revisited: analyzing long-term CO2 enrichment responses in plant-soil models', Geoscientific Model Development, vol.12, no.5, pp 2069-2089

Drake JE, Tjoelker MG, Varhammar A, Medlyn BE, Reich PB, Leigh A, Pfautsch S, Blackman CJ, Lopez R, Aspinwall MJ, Crous KY, Duursma RA, Kumarathunge D, De Kauwe MG, Jiang M, Nicotra AB, Tissue DT, Choat B, Atkin OK, Barton CVM, (2018) 'Trees tolerate an extreme heatwave via sustained transpirational cooling and increased leaf thermal tolerance', Global Change Biology, vol.24, no.6, pp 2390-2402

Felzer BS, Jiang M, (2018) 'Effect of Land Use and Land Cover Change in Context of Growth Enhancements in the United States Since 1700: Net Source or Sink?', Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, vol.123, no.11, pp 3439-3457

Jiang MK, Felzer BS, Nielsen UN, Medlyn BE, (2017) 'Biome-specific climatic space defined by temperature and precipitation predictability', Global Ecology and Biogeography', vol.26, no.11, pp 1270-1282

Jiang M, Felzer BS, Sahagian D, (2016) 'Characterizing predictability and variability of precipitation means and extremes in the conterminous U.S., 1940-2010', Journal of Climate, vol.29, pp 2621-2633

Jiang MK, Felzer BS, Sahagian D, (2016) 'Predictability of Precipitation Over the Conterminous US Based on the CMIP5 Multi-Model Ensemble', Scientific Reports, vol.6, Article no.29962

Jiang M, Felzer BS, Hargreaves B, Zhang J, (2015) 'Improved understanding of climate change impact to Pennsylvania dairy pasture', Crop Science, vol.55, pp 934-949

Jiang M, Bullock JM, Hooftman DAP, (2013) 'Mapping ecosystem service and biodiversity changes over 70 years in a rural English county', Journal of Applied Ecology, vol.50, pp 841-850