Lixin Wang Lixin's research, teaching and interests

A chinese lion statue

Lixin Wang

School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

I recently moved to UNSW under a prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s postdoctoral fellowship. I am continuing my two interrelated research themes: ecohydrology and isotope biogeochemistry. I am in the research group of Dr. Matt McCabe and Dr. Jason Evans. Before moving to Australia, I have spent three years as a post-doc in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University in the research group of Dr. Kelly Caylor.

I got my Ph.D.from the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia working with Dr. Stephen Macko and Dr. Paolo D’Odorico. My Ph.D. dissertation focuses on studying the water and nitrogen dynamics in African savanna ecosystems through isotope techniques (at both natural abundance level and enriched tracer level), greenhouse work, field manipulation and modeling exercises.

What is success?

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded.

-----Ralph Waldo Emerson

Check out my new website!

September 29th, 2012

I will start a faculty position at Department of Earth Sciences of Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI) in Jan 2013. Please check out the new website,

Lixin Wang Ecohydrology and Biogeochemistry

Paper accepted for publication in Plant Cell Environment

October 11th, 2010

The ecological origin of plant nitrogen uptake preference and how it is modified in a changing environment have been a mystery in ecological studies. This research used a unique experimental design incorporating nitrogen that was differentially labeled with stable isotopes at both African savanna field site and a greenhouse location. Nitrogen preferences were found to be constrained by climatic conditions of the native habitat of the plants, which influence the relative availability of ammonium/nitrate in the habitats.  An interesting phenomenon was seen to exist in that progeny of plants retain such preferences even when the environment changed. This observation has implications for seed banks and replanting of forests with trees grown under different environmental conditions.

Wang, L. and S. Macko. Preference and adaptation maintenance in plant nitrogen uptake. Plant Cell Environment. In press.

Kenya fieldwork Spring 2010

March 12th, 2010

Between Feb-May 2010, I will work at Kenya to instrument our eddy-covariance/isotope monitoring tower, set up our in-house water extraction system for isotope analysis, collect plant photosynthesis data and much more…

Back Home!

September 11th, 2009

After one and half month’s productive field work in Kenya, I am glad to be back!

Kenya Field Trip Coming Up!

June 21st, 2009

I will be Kenya between July 7-August 16 for field work! Excited!

Biosphere II research

September 23rd, 2008

I will stay at Biosphere II (University of Arizona) for a month to collaborate with Juan Villegas, Travis Huxman and David Breshears in their project about vegetation cover and ET partitioning.

Short Course of “Flux Measurement Fundamentals”

July 12th, 2008

During July 6-12, 2008, I am taking a short course of “Flux Measurement Fundamentals” . The class is taught by Hape Schmid and Alex Guenther. The class venue is the beautiful University of Michigan Biological Station, located at the northern tip of the lower peninsula of Michigan.

A “Science” Letter about water pumps

July 3rd, 2008

Wang, L., P. D’Odorico. 2008. The limits of water pumps. Science 321: 36-37. PDF

Move to Princeton!

May 20th, 2008

Today I officially start a post-doctoral position at Civil and Environmental Department of Princeton University!

A letter to “Science” Published

May 9th, 2008

Wang, L. 2008. Lost in transliteration. Science 320: 745. PDF

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