My research aims to discover new ways that water shapes ecosystem response to climate change and use this knowledge to advance Earth system modeling and climate predictions. Many ecosystems around the world are increasingly affected by climate change. The lifeforms within those ecosystems take up, store, and use carbon for growth and maintenance (e.g., plants that photosynthesize, or microbes that decompose soil carbon). Importantly, their metabolism and function are controlled by water. As a result, the hydrological processes that make water accessible to these lifeforms will not only control ecosystem responses, but also their contributions to climate change, by regulating how much carbon is released back into the atmosphere as greenhouse gasses. I use a range of quantitative methods, including stochastic processes and information theory, to analyze the variability in the climate system and model the nonlinear dynamics within the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum.
Feng, X., M. J. Deventer, R. Lonchar, G. H. C. Ng, S. D. Sebestyen, D. T. Roman, T. J. Griffis, D. B. Millet, and R. K. Kolka.(2020) "Climate sensitivity of peatland methane emissions mediated by seasonal hydrologic dynamics." Geophysical Research Letters: e2020GL088875.
Feng, X., Ackerly, D. D., Dawson, T. E., Manzoni, S., Skelton, R. P., Vico, G., & Thompson, S. E. (2018). The ecohydrological context of drought and classification of plant responses. Ecology letters, 21(11), 1723-1736.
Porporato, A., Feng, X., Manzoni, S., Mau, Y., Parolari, A. and G. Vico (2015). Ecohydrological modeling in agroecosystems: Examples and challenges. Water Resources Research, 51(7), 5081-5099. doi:10.1002/2015WR017289.
Feng, X., A. Porporato, and I. Rodriguez-Iturbe (2015). Stochastic soil water balance under seasonal climates. Proceedings of the Royal Society A. doi:10.1098/rspa.2014.0623.
Feng, X., Porporato, A., and I. Rodriguez-Iturbe (2013). Changes in rainfall seasonality in the tropics. Nature Climate Change, 3, 811-815. doi:10.1038/nclimate1907.