2012 - 2013 Global Change Fellow
Where are they now?
Guofang is currently a post-doc researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana and Champaign.
Statement of purpose:
I am a PhD student in Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources working with Dr. John King and Dr. Asko Noormets. With a diverse background of chemistry, environmental sciences, meteorology and oceanography, I am now focusing on ecological studies in forest ecosystems. I am interested in ecosystem responses under climate change and the difference of responses from various ecosystems. My research interests are specifically in quantification of the interaction between environmental drivers and ecosystem processes, including development of technology that can continuously measure the variation of environmental drivers and ecosystem processes in different time and spatial scales, and mathematical modeling of the interaction. The quantification study is important to understand the role of ecosystems in climate change, and is guidance for human being to use and manage ecosystems. Upon completion of my PhD study, I plan to stay in academia so that I can continue researching on issues of ecosystems and climate change, and also use my knowledge to promote ecological education especially in developing countries.
Description of research:
My PhD project explores carbon cycle in a forested wetland located in Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, North Carolina, and evaluates the potential role of coastal wetlands in regional change. It relates to the SECSC Science Theme 4 (task 2 and 3), and also Theme 5. Through conducting field measurements from ground to canopy, the project aims to collect comprehensive data of tree growth, soil characteristics, microtopography, and carbon/water flux at soil-plant-atmosphere interface, and develop methods and models that can be applied to investigate the interaction between respiration processes and environmental drivers in wetlands, which are underrepresented in climate change. A 40-meter-high eddy-covariance flux tower is built to continuously measure CO2 and water vapor flux above the forest canopy. An automatic system is set on the ground to measure microclimate condition, CO2 and water vapor flux from soil and sap flow in trees. Manual measurements are conducted in 1-km2area around the tower for representing spatial variation. With the data in different time (from 30-min to monthly) and spatial (from point to ecosystem) scales, we will improve the model of respiration processes in wetlands, use existing ecological model to simulate carbon cycle in the forested wetland, and ultimately evaluate its roles in regional carbon cycle under different climate scenarios.