Seminar: Kaiyu Guan

Thursday, April 8, 2021 - 12:00pm

Kaiyu Guan

Blue Waters Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Advancing earth system science to achieve co-sustainability of
ecosystem productivity and environmental resource  

Humanity faces grand challenges in fulfilling growing needs in water, food, and energy, while maintaining the long-term sustainability of natural resources; these challenges are further intensified by climate change with increasing risks posed to different aspects of societal needs. My research tackles two key science questions: How do climate and human activities control ecosystem productivity and service? How can we optimally manage our landscape to achieve co-sustainability of ecosystem productivity and environmental resource? To address these questions, my team is integrating earth system science (that encompasses plant ecology, hydrology, biogeochemistry, and climate science) with advanced engineering tools (airborne/satellite sensing, AI, modeling, supercomputing), aiming to revolutionize how we monitor and model plant-water-nutrient interactions for agricultural and natural ecosystems at scale. 

In this talk, I will specifically share my vision of how to advance the science and technology to enable us to monitor, model, and manage every piece of land in our planet, primarily using my team’s work done in the past five years for the U.S. Midwest agroecosystem as examples. I will illustrate how we framed and resolved the scaling problem of sensing and modeling from individual farmland to the continental scale; how we investigated solar-induced fluorescence and hyperspectral data to improve photosynthesis and other biochemical characterizations across scales; how we used novel experiments and sensing to understand the underlying processes of crop yield responses to high temperature; and how we developed new methods of data-model fusion to calculate field-level whole carbon cycle through AI-based surrogate models. I envision these knowledge and framework gained in agroecosystem can be transferred to natural ecosystems, and we can ultimately achieve the goal to provide information to enable optimal management of every piece of land in our planet.   

Dr. Kaiyu Guan is a Blue Waters Assistant Professor in ecohydrology and remote sensing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Guan got his B. Sci. from Nanjing University, M.A. and PhD from Princeton University with Eric Wood, and conducted postdoc research in Stanford University with David Lobell and Joe Berry. Guan’s group at UIUC focuses on bringing the interdisciplinary domain knowledge (plant ecology, hydrology, biogeochemistry, and climate science), satellite/airborne data, fieldwork, supercomputing, and machine learning together to revolutionize how we monitor and model plant-water-nutrient interactions for agricultural ecosystems, across the U.S. and globe. His group’s work aims to increase our society’s resilience and adaptability to maintain sustainability of ecosystem services, food security and water resources under the influence of climate change and anthropogenic drivers. Guan serves as PI and Co-PI for 15+ federal grants from NASA, NSF, DOE, and USDA. Guan has published 90+ peer-reviewed papers in leading scientific journals. Guan is the awardee of NSF CAREER Award, NASA New Investigator Award, AGU Early Career Award in Global Environmental Change, Hyperion Research High-Performance-Computing Innovation Excellence Award, SoAR Foundation’s National Selection of U.S. Agricultural Research, FFAR Seeding Solution Award, etc.   

To receive the login information for this virtual seminar, please contact Terri Tippets at