Dr. Chen photo

Jiquan Chen, PhD

Professor
E-Mail:  jqchen@msu.edu | Phone: 517-884-1884

A native of Shanxi in Northern China, Dr. Chen received his undergraduate education in grassland ecology (Inner Mongolia University), MS in forest ecology (Chinese Academy of Sciences), and PhD in ecosystem Analysis (University of Washington). His postdoc training was in the stream ecology and ecosystem management.  He was a Bullard Fellow at Harvard University (1999-2000).  He was on the faculty at Michigan Tech University (1993-2001) and University of Toledo (2001-2014).

His research and academic instruction programs are on ecosystem processes and their interactive feedbacks to the biophysical and human activities, including community ecology to 3-D canopy structure, forest fragmentation, edge effects, riparian zone, conservation biology, landscape ecology, and micrometeorology.  His current research lies in the coupled effects of global climate change and human activities on terrestrial ecosystems, global change ecology, bioenergy, and carbon/water fluxes.  He will be teaching special topics on coupled human and natural systems, environmental instrumentations, image processing and GIS, and global change science. 

He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, 2011) and a fellow of Ecological Society of America (ESA, 2014).  Dr. Chen is also the Editor-in-Chief for two book series: 1) Landscape Ecology (Springer); and 2) Ecosystem Science and Application –ESA (HEP & De Gruyter).   He is the founder and chief scientist of the US-China Carbon Consortium (USCCC) . He enjoys Thai Chi practice and Buddha Meditation. He is also a member of the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior (EEBB) Graduate Program and the Environmental Science & Policy Program (ESPP).

Current Members


Raffaele Lafortezza

Raffaele Lafortezza, PhD

Adjunct Professor, Center for Global Change and Earth Observations | University of Bari, Italy
E-Mail: raffa@msu.edu

Dr. Raffaele Lafortezza is Adjunct Professor at the Center for Global Change and Earth Observations (CGCEO), Michigan State University. He holds a PhD in Landscape Ecology and Planning from the University of Bari (2002) and has accumulated considerable experience in landscape ecology issues by participating in numerous research projects and scientific collaborations conducted worldwide. His main research interest lies in the fields of landscape modeling at multiple spatial and temporal scales, sustainable land management in the context of global change, ecosystem services associated with green infrastructures and nature-based solutions, quantitative assessment of biodiversity, and analysis of ecological disturbances, including forest fires and fragmentation in wildland urban interfaces. In addition, he seeks to understand the impact of human activity on ecosystems (i.e., coupled human and natural systems) and to discover methods for preserving ecological patterns and related processes/services.

Dr. Lafortezza has developed his research interests in the United States (University of Toledo, Michigan State University), Canada (University of Guelph), Japan (University of Tsukuba, University of Tokyo), and the United Kingdom (University of Cambridge) and has been involved, as principal- and co-investigator, in many research projects. He is Associate Editor of the journal "Urban Forestry & Urban Greening” (Elsevier) and a member of the Editorial Board of the Springer journals “Landscape Ecology” and “Ecological Processes”.


Michael Abraha

Michael Abraha, PhD

Research Associate
E-Mail: abraha@msu.edu | Phone: 249-290-9766

My research interest lies in measuring and modeling the physical processes involved in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum, with a special focus on energy and mass exchange measurement between surfaces (bare soil, vegetated, wet-lands and/or water) and the atmosphere using micrometeorological methods. I am interested in investigating energy balance closure using eddy covariance measured fluxes; and also the influence of land-use and climate changes on heat, carbon dioxide, water vapor and other trace gas fluxes.

My previous studies concentrated on measurement and modeling of crop growth and development, soil water balance, solar radiation and its interception by shrubs, and evapotranspiration from sparse trees. I was also involved in investigating inexpensive means of estimating sensible heat flux from high frequency air temperature measurements.


Yi Fan

Yi Fan (Angela)

MS Student
E-Mail: fanyi2@msu.edu | Phone: 419-215-6803

I'm involved in an integrated research on the Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment of photovoltaic technology and its production. The study is divided into Environmental Life Cycle Assessment, Life Cycle Costing, Social Life Cycle Assessment, and comprehensive structural equation modeling (SEM). To accomplish the assessment, structural equation modeling will be intensive used in the research. My goal is to explore innovative and efficient PV pipelines to meet the growing and changing demands for efficient PV technology and production, renewable energy, and ecosystem services for society and to examine how existing trade-offs differ from other energy revenues.


Sharon Fighter

Sharon Fighter

Undergraduate Student
E-Mail: fighters@msu.edu | Phone: 231-818-9463

Sharon Fighter is an undergraduate student at MSU pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Geography with a minor in Environmental and Sustainable Studies. She holds an Associate of Applied Science degree in Geographic Information Systems from NCMC in Petoskey. She is interested in global climate change with a focus on quantity and quality of sustainable water resources, analysis of land use and land cover change, human impacts and sustainable development, and ecosystems management.

She has interned as a GIS technician at Tip of the Mitt watershed Council for the Michigan Shoreline Stewardship Survey and has interned as a GIS technician at Northeast Michigan Council of Governments. She has volunteered as a Sturgeon Guard in Cheboygan County for Sturgeon for Tomorrow, and assisted with a riverbank restoration project collaborated by Sturgeon for Tomorrow, Huron Pines and AmeriCorps. She has also assisted with Avian Botulism Surveys, and macroinvertebrate surveys in Northern Michigan. She international experience includes studied abroad programs in New Zealand (natural science), China (urban geography), and Italy (geography of Europe).


Vincenzo Giannico

Vincenzo Giannico

Visiting Scholar, PhD Candidate | University of Bari, Italy
E-Mail: vincenzo.giannico@gmail.com

Vincenzo Giannico is a PhD candidate in "Biodiversity, Agriculture and Environment” at the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (DISAAT), University of Bari. His doctoral research focuses on ecosystem service trade-offs of urban and peri-urban forest areas using high resolution remotely sensed data (i.e. LiDAR, Multi- and Hyperspectral data).

Specifically, the aim of his research is to find explanatory variables derived from remote sensing data capable of estimating carbon stored in biomass, the amount of biodiversity and its patterns, and to understand the relationships among these ecosystem services. Previously, he did an internship in "Planetek Italia", a leader company in the field of Earth Observation technologies, where he performed pre-processing and advanced analysis methodologies on optical and laser sensor data and more. His main research interests are ecosystem modeling, ecosystem services, remote sensing of the environment, and applications of geomatics in forestry.


Ranjeet John

Ranjeet John, PhD

Research Associate
E-Mail: ranjeetj@msu.edu | Phone: 517-214-6675

Ranjeet's research interests focus on the applications of Remote Sensing and Geospatial technologies to study biophysical attributes that include carbon, water and energy fluxes at varying scales in context of ecosystem ecology, land cover/land use, and climate change. His current position in the LEES lab requires him to synthesize existing meteorological and medium to coarse resolution satellite derived-data (for e.g., drought indices, extreme climate anomalies & non-parametric trend analysis). In addition, his research also involves scaling up from in situ observations from various eddy covariance flux towers and standard ground truth methods to a regional scale in context of rapid climatic and socio-economic changes (in the Mongolian Plateau and elsewhere).


Maowei Liang

Maowei Liang

Visiting Scholar, PhD candidate | Inner Mongolia University
E-Mail: liangmao@msu.edu

Maowei Liang is a PhD candidate at the Department of Ecology, Inner Mongolia University. Previously, his research focused on land use change adaptations (grazing technology integration) to mitigate the effect of climate change on the grassland ecosystem in the Mongolia Plateau. At Michigan State University, he is researching the impacts of global climate and land use change on ecosystem functions in the grassland ecosystem, specifically semi-arid and arid regions. To accomplish this, he seeks to understand the mechanisms behind water and heat balance and their role in both the net primary production and carbon/water fluxes. He incorporates various approaches to research carbon sequestration, including the eddy covariance technique, terrestrial ecosystem modeling of elevated atmospheric CO2, and manipulative experiments. He is also evaluating the potential changes of ecosystem function, such as net primary production and soil carbon storage.


Cheyenne Lei

Cheyenne Lei

PhD student
E-Mail: leicheye@msu.edu

Cheyenne is a doctoral student in the LEES lab at Michigan State University. She holds a Masters of Arts in Geography from Western Michigan University and a Bachelor of Science in Earth Science from Northern Michigan University. She is interested in geographic information systems, cartography and environmental and resource analysis. Her focus is in analyzing water quality and land use and land cover change at multiple spatial and temporal scales, with emphasis on providing sustainable land and water management and addressing the impact of anthropogenic activities on water quantity and quality. She has collaborated alongside multiple watershed councils within Michigan in water data collection, invasive species monitoring and public education.


Zutao Ouyang

Zutao Ouyang

Research Associate
E-Mail: yangzuta@msu.edu | Phone: 567-225-7112

My former research focused on mapping and investigating invasive plants in wetlands (such as Spartina alterniflorain east coast of China by remote sensing techniques and GIS. Currently, my research interest has moved on to carbon fluxes of terrestrial ecosystems, as I think carbon related problems such as greenhouse gases, carbon storage and cycling , and so on are core issues of global climate change. I love science, but I also like many other things, like cycling, swimming, playing ping-pong and reading.  


Hogeun Park

Hogeun Park

PhD Student
E-Mail: parkhoge@msu.edu

Hogeun is currently developing a synthesis study reviewing urbanization and coupled human and nature systems (CHNS). Before joining LEES, he studied social capital and network contingency on a local development project. During his master's degree, he successfully participated in international research workshops as a member of the Asian Program for Incubation of Environmental Leaders (APIEL) and did an internship in the social science division at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). His first professional career was a Cooperation Agent at the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) from 2008 — 2010 where he worked in both Pelileo and Saquisili City Hall in Ecuador as a GIS specialist.


Changliang Shao, Ph.D.

Changliang Shao, PhD

Research Associate
E-Mail: clshao@msu.edu | Phone: 517-974-1750

My research interests aimed at understanding human-environment interactions through a focus on land-use and land-cover changes through using eddy covariance technique in grassland ecosystems: from observation to data analysis of carbon, water and energy fluxes. I have been the one maintaining two mobile flux towers in Inner Mongolia for 3 years and opened the eddy covariance data in public via internet. Recent work has used two mobile eddy flux towers to study different disturbance ecosystems under the same environment, which is valuable for modeling precision, and contribute us to understand the underlying effect mechanism through different management types. I have served the NASA LCLUC Science Team, the NSFC and the Foundation of Chinese Academy of Sciences. In 2009 I was elected fellow of the US-China Carbon Consortium (USCCC).


Gabriela Shirkey

Gabriela Shirkey

Lab Manager
E-Mail: geshirkey@gmail.com

Gabriela regularly edits publications, promotes the website, and organizes fieldwork campaigns for multiple projects. Her interests include discovering the links between human action and landscape change as well as a population's ability to address this change. She has volunteered with both the Huron River Watershed Council in Ann Arbor and the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership to gain a better understanding of how local inititives can make a difference spatially.

Prior to LEES, she worked on two human-environment research projects within the Department of Social Sciences and with EEPP students at Michigan Technological University investigating the role social influence plays in land use decision making, conservation practices, and geothermal energy.


Yahn-Jauh Su

Yahn-Jauh Su

PhD Student
E-Mail: suyahnja@msu.edu | Phone: 419-508-0040

My research interest focuses on the relationship between the metabolism of ecosystems and the environmental regimes and how the relationship responds to human land use and climate change.

I would like to explore the relationship from both ecosystem and community perspectives.The former concentrates on the intrinsic mechanisms within a community, such as how biodiversity, foodweb structure, community dynamics and the species interactions adapt to environmental regimes and maintain the stability of the system while latter focuses on the energy and material transfer and flux within and between ecosystems and their adjacent environment. My research is currently funded by the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) and focus on how crop types and land-use history impact the metabolism of bioenergy agricultural ecosystems. We monitor the carbon sequestration by eddy covariance (EC) techniques and some budget-related ecosystem functions, including aboveground net primary production (ANPP), belowground net primary production (BNPP), photosynthesis rate and soil respiration in corn and switchgrass farms which converted from conservation reserve program (CRP) and conventional agricultural zones near Kellogg Biological Station (KBS), Michigan.


Susie Wu

Ruqun Wu (Susie)

Research Associate
E-Mail: wuruqun@msu.edu | Phone: 517-974-1750

I joined the team in fall 2013 to pursue my Ph.D. study in the research area of life cycle sustainability assessment. I have bachelor degree in Agronomy and Master degrees in Environment and Energy Studies. During my Master study, I grew interested in the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). After graduation, I began working on LCA related topics in China (e.g. eco-design, carbon footprint) and I found that the popularization of partial LCA enables many companies to use “halo effects” which jeopardizes the company as they may “green wash” by claiming a product system as “green ” simply because it has a superior sustainability than something else. Thus, a holistic way of assessing product systems' overall sustainability is needed in order to help the industry better understand their current performance and improve policy.

The topic which Professor JiQuan Chen and Doctor Defne Apul are working on is very interesting to me. They are conducting life cycle sustainability analysis of proposed photovoltaic technologies and comparing them to different alternatives.

I am excited to begin my work here and study this most interesting, and interdisciplinary, topic.

Current Collaborators


Dan Brown University of Michigan
Yaoqi Zhang Auburn University
Ochirbat Batkhishig Mongolian Academy of Sciences
Peilei Fan Michigan State University
Ge Sun Southern Global Change Program, USDA Forest Service
Steve McNulty Southern Global Change Program, USDA Forest Service

LEES Alumni & Associates


Karrin Alstad California
Weikai Bao Chengdu Institute of Biology, CAS
Runcheng Bi Shangxi Normal University
Mary Bresee USDA Forest Service
Kim Brosofske Michigan Tech University
Xiaoli Cheng Chinese Academy of Sciences
Housen Chu University of California-Berkley
Amy Concilio St Edward's University
Mike Deal Ohio EPA (Columbus)
Jared DeForest Ohio University
Elia Mario University of Bari, Itlay
Eugenie Euskirchen University of Alaska
Yu Gao Fudan University
Chongfeng Gong Sun Yat-Sen University
Haiqiang Guo Fudan University
Juanjuan Han Iceme, NUIST
Anna Kvashinina Russia
Lyn Gerdes Minnesota DNR
Beyza Sat Gungor Ozyegin University
Malanding Jaiteh Columbia University
Jacob LaCroix US Fishery and Wildlife (AK)
Jim LeMoine University of Michigan
Haitao Li Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS 
Qinglin Li Timberline Natural Resource Group Ltd.
Yun Liu Beijing University of Agriculture, China
Nan Lu Chinese Academy of Sciences
Siyan Ma University of California - Berkley
Asko, Noormets NC State University
Robert Phillips UT
John Rademacher USDA Forest Service
Mark Rudnicki University of Connecticut
Soung Ryu Clemson University
Sari Saunders BC Forest Service
Jessica Schafer TX
Changlaing Shao Institute of Botany, CAS
Janet Silbernagel University of Wisconsin
Bo Song Clemson University
Lisa (Delp) Taylor  
Jennifer Teeple Michigan State University
Gwen Tenney  
Xinli Wang Colorado State University
Xu Wang Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)
Surachit Wanggsenthorn  
Radley Watkins Wisconsin
Burkhard Wilske Canada
Shiqiang Wan Henan University
Chuankuan Wang Center for Ecological Research of Northeast Forestry University
Wei Shen Northeast Forestry University
Jing Xie Beijing Forestry University
Jianye Xu NA
Ming Xu Rutgers University and Chinese Academy of Sciences
Xuefeng Yu Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Terenzio Zenone Netherland
Feng Zhang, Ph.D. IBCAS
Wenli Zhang Three Gorges University
Daolan Zheng University of New Hampshire
Rui Zhou California