Max Planck Gesellschaft

Dr Xuanlong Ma

Ph.D., M.Sc.
Postdoctoral Researcher
Member of Empirical Inference of the Earth System (EIES)
Member of Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions and Experimentation (BAIE)
Member of German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)

Room: C2.020
Address: Hans-Knöll-Straße 10, D-07745, Jena, Germany

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

I am an ecologist and a remote sensing researcher. My areas of expertise are ecosystem function remote sensing and terrestrial ecology, and my main research interest is in using remote sensing to study and analyse broad-scale vegetation dynamics and terrestrial carbon cycling, with particular emphasis on vegetation phenological and functional responses to hydroclimatic impacts.

My primary role in MPI-BGC is to work on a research project to investigate effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning by integrating multi-temporal remote sensing and in-situ measurement (oBEF-Across). This project is funded by German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig. This project is a collaborative effort among MPI-BGC (Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry), UL (University of Leipzig), and UFZ (Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research).

Follow project update on ResearchGate.

Professional background

  • 2017 - , PostDoc, German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) & Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany
  • 2015 - 2017, PostDoc, Remote Sensing Research Group, Climate Change Cluster, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
  • 2009 - 2014, Ph.D., Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resource Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

Research Interests

  • Assess ecological resilience under extreme climate impacts;
  • Understand carbon-water relationships at ecosystem-level and their response to climate change and variability;
  • Remote sensing of ecosystem process and function (phenology, photosynthesis, water-use-efficiency) by coupling satellite observations with eddy-covariance flux tower measurements;
  • Retrieve spatially continuous fields of plant functional traits by linking ecological and ecophysiological theories with physical principles of remote sensing spectroscopy and radiative transfer.

Professional Links

Social Media

  • twitter: @xuanlongma


  • Member, American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • Member, International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS)
  • Member, International Society of Biometeorology (ISB), Phenology Commission
  • Member, Australian Energy and Water Exchange Research Initiative (OzEWEX) Working Group I: Observational Data

Award & Scholarship

  • Early Career Research Award, 2016, University of Technology Sydney (AUD$21,450)
  • Joint Ph.D. Scholarship, 2010, Chinese Scholarship Council, Ministry of Education, China & UTS, Australia (AUD$43,800)
  • CAS’s Ph.D. Scholarship, 2019, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China (CNY¥96,000)
  • National Scholarship for Graduate Student, 2006, Ministry of Education, China (Tuition fee waiver, research support, 3 years of stipend)

Community Service


  • Co-Chair: S2.3 Quantifying functions in terrestrial ecosystems, International Conference on Ecological Informatics, 27 September, 2018, Jena, Germany;

Journal Referee

  • A: Austral Ecology, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology;
  • C: Climatic Change;
  • E: Environmental Modelling & Software;
  • G: Global Change Biology, Geophysical Research Letters;
  • I: IEEE-Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, International Journal of Digital Earth;
  • J: Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, Journal of Soils and Sediments;
  • N: Nature Communications, New Phytologist;
  • R: Remote Sensing, Remote Sensing of Environment.


Public reach


Book Chapters

  • Huete, A., Ponce-Campos, G., Zhang, Y., Restrepo-Coupe, N., Ma, X., Moran, M. S. (2015). Monitoring photosynthesis from space. Vol. II. Land Resources: Monitoring, Modelling, and Mapping, in Remote Sensing Handbook edited by Prasad S. Thenkabail., Taylor and Francis. 3-22.

Peer-reviewed journal articles


  • Ma, X., Huete, A., Tran, N. (2019) Interaction of seasonal sun-angle and savanna phenology observed and modelled using MODIS. Remote Sensing, 11(12), 1398.
  • Jin, J., Ma, X., Chen, H., Wang, H., Kang, X., Wang, X., Wang, Y., Yong, B., Guo, F. (2019) Grassland production in response to changes in biological metrics over Tibetan Plateau. Science of the Total Environment, 666, 641-651.


  • Luo, Y., El-Madany, T., Filippa, G., Ma, X., Ahrens, B., Carrara, A., Gonzalez-Cascon, R., Cremonese, E., Galvagno, M., Hammer, T., Pacheco-Labrador, J., Martin, P., Moreno, G., Perez-Priego, O., Reichstein, M., Richardson, A., Römermann, C., Migliavacca, M. (2018). Using near-infrared-enabled digital repeat photography to track structural and physiological phenology in Mediterranean tree-grass ecosystems Remote Sensing, 10, 1293.
  • Sippel, S., Reichstein, M., Ma, X., Mahecha, M., Lange, H., Flach, M., Frank, D. (2018). Drought, heat, and the carbon cycle: a review. Current Climate Change Reports, 4(3), 266-286.
  • Shen, J., Huete, A., Tran, N., Devadas, R., Ma, X., Eamus, D., Yu, Q. (2018). Diverse sensitivity of winter crops over the growing season to climate and land surface temperature across the rainfed cropland-belt of eastern Australia. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 254, 99-110.
  • Zhang, X., Wang, N., Xie, Z., Ma, X, Huete, A. (2018). Water loss due to increasing planted vegetation over the Badain Jaran desert, China. Remote Sensing, 10(1), 134.


  • Maeda, E., Ma, X., Wagner, F., Kim, H., Oki, T., Eamus, D., Huete, A. (2017). Evapotranspiration seasonality across the Amazon basin. Earth System Dynamics. 8(2), 439-454.


  • Ma, X., Huete, A., Cleverly, J., Eamus, D., Chevallier, F., Joiner, J., Poulter, B., Zhang, Y., Guanter, L., Meyer, W., Xie, Z., Ponce-Campos, G. (2016). Drought rapidly disseminates the 2011 large carbon uptake in semi-arid Australia. Scientific Reports, 6.
  • Xie, Z., Huete, A., Ma, X., Restrepo-Coupe, N., Devadas, R., Clark, K., Lewis, M. (2016). Landsat and GRACE observations of arid wetland dynamics in a dryland river system under multi-decadal hydroclimatic extremes. Journal of Hydrology, 543B, 818-831.
  • Eamus, D., Huete, A., Cleverly, J., Nolan, R., Ma, X., Tarin, T., Santini, N. (2016). Mulga, a major tropical dry open forest of Australia: recent insights to carbon and water fluxes. Environmental Research Letters, 11, 125011.
  • Xie, Z., Huete, A., Restrepo-Coupe, N., Ma, X., Devadas, R., Graziella, C. (2016). Spatial partitioning and temporal evolution of Australia’s total water storage under extreme hydroclimatic impacts. Remote Sensing of Environment. 183, 43-52.
  • Cleverly, J., Eamus, D., Luo, Q., Restrepo-Coupe, N., Kljun, N., Ma, X., Ewenz, C., Li, L., Yu, Q., Huete, A. (2016). The importance of interacting climate modes on global carbon cycle extremes. Scientific Reports, 6, 23113.


  • Ma, X., Huete, A., Moran, M.S., Ponce-Campos, G., Eamus, D. (2015). Abrupt shifts in phenology and vegetation productivity under climate extremes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. 120(10), 2036-2052.
  • Broich, M., Huete, A., Paget, M., Ma, X., Tulbure, M., Restrepo-Coupe, N., Evans, B., Beringer, J., Devadas, R., Davies, K., Held, A. (2015). A spatially explicit land surface phenology data product for science, monitoring and natural resources management applications. Environmental Modelling & Software, 64, 191-204.


  • Ma, X., Huete, A., Yu, Q., Restrepo-Coupe, N., Beringer, J., Hutley, L. B., Kanniah, K. D., Cleverly, J., Eamus, D. (2014). Parameterization of an ecosystem light-use-efficiency model for predicting savanna GPP using MODIS EVI. Remote Sensing of Environment, 154, 253-271.
  • Broich, M., Huete, A., Tulbure, M. G., Ma, X., Xin, Q., Paget, M., Restrepo-Coupe, N., Davies, K., De- vadas, R., Held, A. (2014). Land surface phenological response to decadal climate variability across Australia using satellite remote sensing. Biogeosciences, 11, 5181-5198.


  • Ma, X., Huete, A., Yu, Q., Restrepo-Coupe, N., Davies, K., Broich, M., Ratana, P., Beringer, J., Hutley, L. B., Cleverly, J., Boulain, N., Eamus, D. (2013). Spatial patterns and temporal dynamics in savanna vegetation phenology across the North Australian Tropical Transect. Remote Sensing of Environment, 139, 97-115.

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