PEOPLE

 

 

César Terrer, Assistant Professor at MIT CEE. He obtained his PhD in Ecosystem Ecology and Climate Change from Imperial College London, where he started working at the interface between experiments and models to better understand the effects of elevated CO2 on vegetation. Dr. Terrer’s research has advanced our understanding on the effects of CO2 in terrestrial ecosystems, the role of soil nutrients in a climate change context, and plant-soil interactions. Synthesizing observational data from CO2 experiments and satellites through meta-analysis and machine-learning, César has found that microbial interactions between plants and soils play a major role in the carbon cycle at a global scale, affecting the speed of global warming.

 

 

Helena Vallicrosa, Postdoc Fellow. After graduating from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and spending one year studying in Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie, Sao Paulo (Brasil), she completed a Masters Degree in Terrestial Ecology and Biodiversity. She later gained her PhD in Terrestial Ecology from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Her work has been centered on the bio-geochemical cycles, focusing on the chemical-ecological relations. Her studies include field work in the Amazon forests as well as in mediterranean ecosystems, using models, big data and satellite data to better understand plants and ecosystems and predict their behavior under a changing climate.

 

Wenzhe Jiao, Postdoc Fellow (joining April 2022). Before coming to MIT, Wenzhe pursued PhD in Applied Earth Sciences from Indiana University.  His general research interests are focusing on drought monitoring, drought impacts, and dryland ecohydrology. His research uses multiple sources of remote sensing observations, flux tower nets, and climate modelling to study spatial and temporal patterns of water availability, how vegetation adapts to and affects such patterns, and how climate/land use changes affect vegetation-water-carbon interactions.

 

Ruofei Jia, PhD student at MIT CEE. Before coming to MIT, she studied Geology and Environmental Engineering and did her research on the deforestation of the Amazon Forest using remote sensing. At MIT she is studying the global carbon cycle in the context of climate change. Her research focuses on plant-soil interactions and soil's capacity for carbon storage using data from field observations, remote sensing, and experiments.

 

Stephen Bell, "María de Maeztu" PhD Fellow at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB). His work revolves around quantifying and extrapolating the soil carbon sequestration potential of agricultural land abandonment, from the field to global scale. He is currently a Science Officer with the ​European Geosciences Union division on Soil System Sciences, and he has a background in soil protection policies, soil amendments, and soil chemistry. Previously, Stephen was a Transatlantic Fellow at Ecologic Institute, Berlin, and a freelance researcher with the Austrian Institute of Technology. He completed his MSc at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and his BES at the University of Waterloo (Canada).

 

Xiao Junlan, PhD student at Southwest University (China) and visiting student at MIT. Her research’s focal points are climate change and the potential impacts on Earth's ecosystems based on multi-source data and remote sensing, including extreme events (drought), and terrestrial carbon cycle. Currently working on knowing more about responses of vegetation growth to drought across elevations, her studies will focus on the interaction of drought and elevated CO2 (eCO2) effects on terrestrial carbon cycle and biomass at global scale.

 

Evan Fricke, Research Scientist. He addresses linkages between the biodiversity and climate crises by modeling how animal biodiversity changes affect the functioning of plant communities. His background includes a PhD from the Department of Biology at the University of Washington, a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, and a faculty fellowship at Rice University. At MIT, he is focused on feedbacks between animal biodiversity and carbon dynamics by modeling how seed dispersal by animals affects natural forest regrowth. He pairs a background in field ecology and natural history with skills in data synthesis and machine learning.

 

Kathryn Wheeler, NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellow. Kathryn received a B.S. in Environmental Science from University of Delaware and a PhD in Earth and Environment from Boston University. She is broadly interested in terrestrial carbon ecology and plant phenology. Previous work has included studying various aspects of plant phenology including remotely sensing, modeling, forecasting, and ecological impacts. While at MIT she will be investigating potential links between mycorrhizal associations of plants and their leaf phenology and carbon fluxes.

 

Maria Moser, PhD student at MIT CEE. Maria holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Sciences from ETH Zurich. Prior to joining the Terrer lab, her work focused on the influence of minerals on soil organic carbon stocks in alpine ecosystems, which involved extensive laboratory analyses. At MIT, she applies machine-learning techniques to predict the potential for additional soil organic carbon sequestration in agricultural fields when adapting to more sustainable practices such as the use of cover crops.