Kaiyu GuanI got my PhD from Princeton University in 2013, and I worked with Prof. Eric F. Wood in the Land Surface Hydrology Research Group. I also closely worked with Prof. Kelly K. Caylor and Prof. David Medvigy. My PhD research focused on understanding how hydrological variability impacts vegetation dynamics (vegetation phenology, ecosystem productivity, and biome distributions) at the continent scale of tropics using multiple remote sensing datasets and ecosystem/land surface models (e.g. SEIB and VIC).
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
I am a Blue Waters Assistant Professor in ecohydrology and remote sensing in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES), College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). I use satellite data, computational models, field work, and machine learning approaches to address how climate and human practices affect crop productivity, water resource availability, and ecosystem functioning. I have keen interests in applying my knowledge and skills in solving real-life problems, such as large-scale crop monitoring and forecasting, water management and sustainability, and global food security. My lab closely works with scientists in computer science (deep learning, high performance computing), plant physiologists, agronomists, and economists in addressing the above real-life challenges.
Mission Statement: We aim to bring the domain knowledge, satellite data, supercomputing, and machine learning together to revolutionize the agricultural research, such that we can observe every crop field in real-time, monitor crop growth condition & water demands & nutrient needs, forecast crop yield and risks, and provide farmers our solutions to best manage their fields, across the U.S. Corn Belt and Worldwide. We strive to achieve co-sustainability of environment quality and food security.
Aug 2018: R&D Magazine covers a story of our recent work in satellite crop applications.
Sep 2018: Our algorithm predicts US end-of-season corn yield better than the USDA forecasts.
Nov 2018: Highlighted in the NCSA's exhibits in SC18.
Dec 2018: AGU Global Environmental Change Early Career Award (UIUC ACES, UIUC NCSA).
Jan 2019: NCSA "Can you imagine" interview.
Feb 2019: NSF CAREER Award (UIUC ACES, UIUC NCSA).
Mar 2019: Our T-FACE project has been chosen to represent U. of I. in the SoAR Foundation's report of Retaking the Field: Science Breakthroughs for Thriving Farms and a Healthier Nation
Apr 2019: Prof. Peng and my lab are awarded Amazon "Earth on AWS" Research Award. Kudos goes to the PhD student Adam Stewart.
Apr 2019: Press release on our recent GCB work about the excessive rainfall impacts on US maize production.
May 2019: Press release on our recent AFM work about Australia wheat yield prediction.
Jun 2019: Two recent collaborative works on hyperspectral phenotyping, with Prof. Carl Bernacchi, have been published with press releases.
Jun 2019: Our team, with Prof. Evan DeLucia, conducted a study on understanding increased crop water needs and potential irrigation expansion in the US Midwest in the future.
Jun 2019: Thanks for the coverage by SC19 (Supercomputing Conference 2019) on our work and vision: "Food Production & HPC: Understanding Plant Growth From Above and Below". The SC conference is the world's largest conference on supercomputing and High-performance computing (HPC), sponsored by ACM and IEEE.
Jun 2019: Our lab officially joins NASA Harvest Program, and a new project is developed to provide Illinois farmers actional guidance on field-level management by using NASA satellite data and process-based modeling.
Recruitment: I have plans to recruit highly motivated PhD students and postdocs with full supports in the coming years in the area of "hydrolgoical and/or biogeochemical modeling" and "vegetation hyperspectral sensing". Please contact me with your CV and research ideas. PhD student positions are available all years around: *HERE*. A new postdoc position is available right now: *HERE*.
Short Bio: Before I joined UIUC, I was a post-doctoral scholar working with Prof. David Lobell in the Center on Food Security and the Environment and Department of Environmental Earth System Science, Stanford University. My postdoc research was to study climate change impacts and adaptations on crop production and food security in West African and US. Specifically, I used empirical and process-based approaches to model drought and heat stress effects on staple crop production and assess possible adaptation pathways. I also worked with Dr. Joe Berry on using satellite-based photosynthesis measurements (sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence) to quantify crop productivity. I briefly worked in the Climate Corporation to help their nitrogen modeling development between my Stanford and UIUC time.
Ecohydrology, Terrestrial Remote Sensing Applications (optical/thermal/microwave), Crop Modeling and Forecasting, Agriculture Adaptation to Climate Change, Vegetation Dynamic Modeling, Biogeography, Drought, Vegetation Phenology, Tropical Ecology
Peer-Reviewed Publications: (Google Scholar)
(* indicates corresponding authorship, bold italics underline indicates postdocs or students mentored by Guan)
Published, In Press, and Accepted
 He,M., Kimball,J., Yi,Y., Running,S., Guan,K., Jencso,K., Maxwell,B., and Maneta,M. (2019), "Impacts of the 2017 flash drought in the US Northern Plains informed by satellite-based evapotranspiration and solar-induced fluorescence", Environmental Research Letters.
 Peng,F., Meacham-Hensold,K., Guan,K., and Bernacchi,C. (2019), "High-throughput phenotyping of photosynthetic parameters: an ensemble approach based on multiple machine learning algorithms", Frontiers in Plant Science.
Media: UIUC RIPE
 Meacham-Hensold,K., Montes,C.M., Wu,J., Guan,K., Ainsworth,E.A., Pederson,T., Moore,C.E., Brown,K.L., Raines,C., and Bernacchi,C. (2019) "High-throughput field phenotyping using hyperspectral reflectance and partial least squares regression (PLSR) reveals genetic modifications to photosynthetic capacity", Remote Sensing of Environment.
Media: UIUC RIPE
 He,M., Kimball,J.S., Yi,Y., Mu,Q., Running,S., Guan,K., Maneta,M., Moreno,A., and Wu,X. (2019) "Satellite data-driven modeling of field scale evapotranspiration in croplands using the MOD16 algorithm framework ", Remote Sensing of Environment,
 DeLucia,E.H., Chen,S., Guan,K., Peng,B., Li,Y. et al. (2019) "Are We Approaching a Water Ceiling to Maize Yields in the United States?", Ecosphere, e02773.
Media: U. of I. News Bureau, WIRED, Phys.org, Earth.com
 Li,Y.*, Guan,K.*, Schnitkey,G., DeLucia,E.H., & Peng,B. (2019) "Excessive rainfall leads to maize yield loss of a comparable magnitude to extreme drought in the United States", Global Change Biology.
Media: U. of I. News Bureau,
 Li,Y.*, Guan,K.* et al. (2019) "Towards building a transparent statistical model for improving crop yield prediction: Modeling rainfed corn in the U.S.", Field Crop Research, 234,55-66.
 Cai,Y., Guan,K.*, Lobell,D.B., Potgieter,A. et al. (2019) "Integrating satellite and climate data to predict wheat yield in Australia using machine learning approaches", Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 274, 144-159.
Media: U. of I. ACES
 Felfelani,F., Pokhrel,Y., Guan,K., and Lawrence,D. M. (2018) "Utilizing SMAP Soil Moisture Data to Constrain Irrigation in the Community Land Model", Geophysical Research Letters, 45(23), 12,892-12,902.
K.*, Pan, M., and Li,
Y. (2018) "Benefits
of seasonal climate prediction
and satellite data for forecasting US maize yield", Geophysical
 Xu,Z., Guan,K., Casler,N., Peng,B., and Wang,S. (2018) "A 3D convolutional neural network method for land cover classification using LiDAR and multi-temporal Landsat imagery", ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 114, 423-434.
 Xia,Y., Ugarte,C.M., Pentrak,M., Guan,K., and Wander,M.(2018) "Developing Near- and Mid-Infrared Spectroscopy Analysis Methods for Rapid Assessment of Soil Quality in Illinois", Soil Science Society of America Journal, 82(6), 1415-1427.
 Yang,X., Shi,H., Stovall,A., Guan,K., Miao,G., et al. (2018) "FluoSpec2 - An automated field spectroscopy system to monitor canopy solar-induced fluorescence", Sensors.
Zeng,Z., Estes,L., Chen,A., Searchinger,T., Hua,F., Guan,K.,
and Wood,E.F. (2018) "Highland
cropland expansion and
forest loss in Southeast Asia in the 21st century", Nature
 Guan,K.*, Li,Z., Rao,N., Feng,G, etc (2018) "Using MODIS-Landsat fused data and ALOS-2/PARSAR-2 to map paddy rice and estimate crop yield for Thai Binh Province in Viet Nam", IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing.
 Song,L., Guanter,L., Guan,K., ..., Zhang,Y. (2018) "Satellite chlorophyll fluorescence captures heat stress for the winter wheat in the Indo-Gangetic Plains, India", Global Change Biology.
A generic and fully-automated method to fuse
multiple sources of optical satellite data to generate a
high-resolution, daily and cloud-/gap-free surface reflectance
Sensing of Environment, 214, 87-99.
 Urban,D.*, Guan,K.*, and Jain,M. (2018) "Estimating sowing dates from satellite data over the U.S. Midwest: a comparison of multiple sensors and metrics", Remote Sensing of Environment, 211, 400-412.
 Liu,Y.Y. et al. (including Guan,K.) (2018) "Enhanced canopy growth precedes senescence in 2005 and 2010 Amazonian droughts", Remote Sensing of Environment, 211, 26-37.
 Zhang,Y., Guanter,L., Joiner,J., Lian,S., and Guan,K. (2018) "Spatially-explicit monitoring of crop photosynthetic capacity through space-based chlorophyll fluorescence data", Remote Sensing of Environment.
 Cai,Y., Guan,K.*,
Peng,J.*, Wang,S., Seifert,C., Wardlow,B., and Li,Z. (2018)
high-performance and in-season classification system of
field-level crop types using time-series Landsat data and a machine
Sensing of Environment.
Yang,Xi, et al. (2018)
chlorophyll fluorescence, photosynthesis, and light use efficiency of a
soybean field from
seasonally continuous measurements", Journal
of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences
 Lin,C., Gentine,P., Huang,Y., Guan,K., Kimm,H. et al. (2018) “Diel ecosystem conductance response to vapor pressure deficit is suboptimal and independent of soil moisture", Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. Zhao,L., Oppenheimer,M., Qing,Z., Baldwin,J., Bou-Zeid,E., Ebi,K., Guan,K., and Liu,X. (2018) "Interactions between urban heat islands and heat waves", Environmental Research Letters.
Media: Princeton University, EurekAlert/AAAS, ERL Editor's Featured Article
 Guan,K.*, Good,S.P., Caylor,K. K., Medvigy,D., Pan,M., Wood,E. F., SATO,H., Biasutti,M., Chen,M., Ahlstrom,A. and Xu,X. (2018) "Simulated sensitivity of African terrestrial ecosystem photosynthesis to rainfall frequency, intensity and rainy season length", Environmental Research Letters.
 Xu,X., Medvigy,D., Trugman,A., Guan,K., Good,S.P., and Rodriguez-Iturbe,I. (2018) "Tree cover shows strong sensitivity to precipitation variability across global tropics", Global Ecology and Biogeography.
 Peng,B.*, Guan,K.*, Chen,M., Lawrence,D.M., Pokhrel,Y., Suyker,A., … Lu,Y. (2018) "Improving Maize Growth Processes in the Community Land Model: Implementation and Evaluation", Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 250-251, 64-89.
Media: UIUC, NCSA, phys.org, Eurek/AAAS, ScienceDaily, MorningAgClips, HPCwire.
 Wu,J., Kobayashi,H., Stark,S., Meng,R., Guan,K., Tran,N. et al. (2018) "Biological processes dominate seasonality of remotely sensed canopy greenness in an Amazon evergreen forest", New Phytologist.
Media: NSF, Brookhaven Lab
 Li,Y.*, Guan,K.* et al. (2017) "Estimating global ecosystem iso/anisohydry using active and passive microwave satellite data", Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences.
 Peng,B., Zhao,T., Shi,J., Lu,H., Mialon,A., Kerr,Y.H., Liang,X., and Guan,K. (2017) "Reappraisal of the roughness effect parameterization schemes for L-band radiometry over bare soil", Remote Sensing of Environment.,199, 63-77.
 Guan,K.*, Wu,J., Kimball,J., Anderson,M., Li,B., and Lobell,D.B. (2017) "The shared and unique values of optical, fluorescence, thermal and microwave satellite data for estimating large-scale crop yields", Remote Sensing of Environment., 199, 333-349.
Media: UIUC, eoPortal
 Ahlstrom,A., Canadell,J.G., Schurgers,G., Wu,M., Berry,J.A., Guan,K., and Jackson,R.B. (2017) "Hydrologic resilience and Amazon productivity", Nature Communications, 8(387).
 Madani, N., Kimball,J., Jones,L., Parazoo,N.C., and Guan,K. (2017) "Global analysis of bioclimatic controls on ecosystem productivity using satellite observations of solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence", Remote Sensing, 9(6), 530.
 Wu,J., Guan,K., Hayek,M. et al. (2017) "Partitioning controls on Amazon forest photosynthesis between environmental and biotic factors at hourly to inter-annual time scales", Global Change Biology, 23(3), 1240-1257. Guan,K.*, Sultan,B., Biasutti,M., Baron.C. and Lobell,D.B. (2017) "Assessing climate adaptation options and uncertainties for cereal systems in West Africa", Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 232, 291-305.
 Zhan,W., Guan,K., Wood,E.F. et al (2016) "Depiction of droughts over Sub-Saharan Africa using reanalysis precipitation datasets", Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 121(18), 10555-10574.
 He,M., Kimball,J.S., Running,S, Ballantyne,A., Guan,K., and Heummrich,F. (2016) "Satellite detection of soil moisture related impacts on ecosystem productivity using the MODIS-based Photochemical Reflectance Index", Remote Sensing of Environment, 186, 173-183.
 Wagner,F.H. et al. (including Guan,K.) (2016) "Climate seasonality limits carbon assimilation and storage in tropical forests", Biogeosciences, 13, 2537-2562.
 Alden,C.B., Miller,J.B., Gatti,L.V., Gloor,M.M., Guan,K., ..., and Diffenbaugh,N.S. (2016) "Regional atmospheric CO2 inversion reveals seasonal and geographic differences in heat and drought impacts in the Amazon", Global Change Biology.
Media: CIRES, Stanford News
 Xu,X., Medvigy,D., Powers,J., Becknell,J., and Guan,K. (2016) "Diversity in plant hydraulic traits explains seasonal and inter-annual variations of vegetation dynamics in seasonally dry tropical forests", New Phytologist.
Comments: New Phytologist
 Wu,J., Chavana-Bryant,C., Prohaska,N., Serbin,S.P., Guan,K., Albert,L.P., Yang,X. ... and Saleska,S.R. (2016) "Convergence in relations among leaf traits, spectra and age across canopy environments and two contrasting tropical forests", New Phytologist.
 Saleska,S.R., Wu,J., Guan,K., Nobre,A.D. and Restrepo-Coupe,N. (2016) "Dry-season greening of Amazon forests", Nature.
Media: U. Arizona; UTS; ScienceDaily.
 Wu,J., Albert,L.P., Lopes,A.P., Restrepo-Coupe,N., Hayek,M. Wiedemann.,K. T., Guan,K., Stark,S.C., ..., and Saleska.,S.R. (2016) "Leaf development and demography explain photosynthetic seasonality in Amazon evergreen forests", Science, 351 (6276).
Media: Science; U. of Arizona; BNL; NSF.
 Good,S.P., Guan,K., and Caylor,K.K. (2016) “Global patterns of the contributions of storm frequency, intensity, and seasonality to inter-annual variability of precipitation", Journal of Climate, 29, 3-15.
 Guan,K.*, Lobell,D.B., Berry,J., Joiner,J., Guanter,L., Zhang,Y., and Badgley,G. (2015) "Improving the mointoring of crop productivity using spaceborne solar-induced fluorescence", Global Change Biology, 22(2).
Media: Stanford News; Youtube
 Bahn,M., Reichstein,M., Guan,K., Moreno,J.M., Williams,C. (2015) "Climate extremes and biogeochemical cycles in the terrestrial biosphere: impacts and feedbacks across scales", Biogeosciences, 12, 4827-4830.
 Guan,K., Sultan,B., Biasutti,M., and Lobell,D.B. (2015) “What aspects of future rainfall changes matter for crop yields in West Africa”, Geophysical Research Letters, 42(19).
 Shukla,S., Safeeq,M., AghaKouchak,A., Guan,K., and Funk,C. (2015) “Temperature impacts on the Water Year 2014 Drought in California”, Geophysical Research Letters.
Media: UCSB Current; Phys.org; CIRC
 Guan,K.*, Pan,M., Li,H., Wolf,A., Wu,J., Medvigy,D., Caylor,K.K., Sheffield,J., Wood,E.F., Malhi,Y., Liang,M., Kimball,J. S., Saleska,S., Berry,J., Joiner,J., and Lyapustin,A.I. (2015) "Photosynthetic seasonality of global tropical forests constrained by hydroclimate", Nature Geoscience.
Media: Water forms common thread in diverse rainforest ecosystems (Phys.org; Princeton University).
 Sultan,B.*, Guan,K.*, Kouressy,M., Biasutti,M., Piani,C., Hammer,G.L., Mclean,G., and Lobell,D.B. (2014) "Robust features of future climate change impacts on sorghum yields in West Africa", Environmental Research Letters, 9(10).
Media: Climate change could cut West African sorghum yields by a fifth.
 Guan,K.*, Caylor,K.K., Good,S.P., Biasutti,M., Medvigy,D., Pan,M., Wood,E.F. and SATO,H. (2014) "Continental-scale impacts of intra-seasonal rainfall variability on simulated ecosystem responses in Africa", Biogeosciences, 11, 6939-6954.
 Reid,M.C, Guan,K., Wagner,F., and Mauzerall,D.L. (2014) "Global Methane Emission from Pit Latrines", Environmental Science and Technology, 48,8727-8734.
Media: Pit latrines: another source of greenhouse gas emissions.
 Guan,K.*, Wood,E.F., Caylor,K.K., Medvigy,D., Sheffield,J., Pan,M., Kimball,J., Xu,X and Jones,M.O. (2014) "Terrestrial hydrological control on vegetation phenology of African savannas and woodlands", Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, 119(8), 8727-8734.
 Good,S.P., Soderberg,K., Guan,K., King,E.G., Scanlon,T., and Caylor,K.K. (2014) "δ2H Isotopic flux partitioning of evapotranspiration over a grass field following a water pulse and subsequent dry down", Water Resources Research, 50(2), 1410-1432.
 Sheffield,J., Wood,E.F., Chaney,N., Guan,K., Safri,S., Yuan,X., Olang,L., Amani,A., Ali,A., and Demuth,S. (2014) "A drought monitoring and forecarsting system for Sub-Sahara African water resources and food security", Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 95(6), 2014.
African drought monitor; Media: UNESCO.
 Yuan,X., Wood,E.F., Chaney,N.W., Sheffield,J., Kam,J., Liang,M., and Guan,K. (2014) "Probalistic Seasonal Forecasting of African Drought by Dynamical Models", Journal of Hydrometeorology, 14, 1706-1720.
 Guan,K.*, Medvigy,D., Wood,E.F. , Caylor,K.K. ,Li,S. and Jeong,S.J. (2014) "Deriving vegetation phenological time and trajectory information over Africa using SEVIRI daily LAI", IEEE transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 53(2),1113-1130.
 Guan,K.*, Wolf,A., Wood,E.F., Medvigy,D., Caylor,K.K. and Pan,M. (2013) "Seasonal coupling of canopy function and structure in African tropical forests and its environmental controls", Ecosphere, 4(3).
 Guan,K.*, Wood,E.F. and Caylor,K.K. (2012) "Multi-sensor derivation of regional vegetation fractional cover in Africa", Remote Sensing of Environment, 124, 653-665.
 Guan,K., Thompson,S.E.*, Harman,C.J., Basu,N.B., Rao,S.P., Sivapalan,M., Kalita,P.K. and Packman,A.I. (2011) "Spatio-temporal scaling of hydrological and agro-chemical export dynamics in a tile-drained Midwestern watershed", Water Resource Research, 47, W00J02.
Media: "Agricultural chemical export dynamics in a watershed", EOS, 92(25), 21 June 2011.
 Li,X., Zhao,S., Ke,C. and Guan,K. (2007) "The Study of Methods of Quantitative Evaluation on Remotely Sensed Image Fusion (in Chinese)", Remote Sensing Technology and Application, 22(3).
 Edwards,A, et al. (including Guan,K. and Li,Y.) (2018) "Sustainable and Equitable Increases in Fruit and Vegetable Productivity and Consumption are Needed to Achieve Global Nutrition Security", Position Paper resulting from a workshop organized by the Aspen Global Change Institute and hosted at the Keystone Policy Center, July 30-August 3, 2018.
 Gamon,J., Hmimina,G., Miao,G., Guan,K. et al.(2018) "Imaging Spectrometry and Fluorometry in Support of Flex: What Can We Learn from Multi-Scale Experiments?", IGARSS 2018 - 2018 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium.
 Guan,K., Hien,N.T., Zhan,L., and Rao,L.N.(2018) "Measuring rice yield from space: the case of Thai Binh Province, Viet Nam", ADB Economics Working Paper Series.
 Guan,K. (2013) "PhD dissertation: Hydrological variability on vegetation seasonality, productivity and composition in tropical ecosystems of Africa", Princeton University.
 Soderberg,K., Good,S.P., Guan,K. and King,E.G. (2011) "Ecohydrology: also know as growing grass", Mpala Memos, April 2011 issue, Mpala Research Centre and Wildlife Foundation, Laikipia, Kenya.
American Geophysical Union (AGU) (2009-present)
European Geophysical Union (EGU) (2014-present)
American Meteorological Society (AMS) (2012-present)
Ecological Society of America (ESA) (2015-present)
Manuscript reviewer: Science; Proceedings of National Academy of Science; Nature Geoscience; Global Change Biology; Remote Sensing of Environment; Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences; Global Ecology and Biogeography; Journal of Biogeography; Agricultural and Forest Meteorology; Biogeoscience; Water Resources Research; Journal of Hydrology; Hydrology and Earth System Sciences; New Phytologist; PLOS one; Journal of Arid Environments; Land; Journal of Hydrometeorology; International Journal of Biometeorology; Advances in Space Research; Geoinformatics & Geostatistics; Remote Sensing; IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters; Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing; Environmental Research Letters; International Journal of Climatology; Global Biochemcial Cycles.
Proposal reviewer: NASA, NSF, USDA, DOE.
Editor:  Guest editor for Special Issue: “Climate extremes and biogeochemical cycles in the terrestrial biosphere: impacts and feedbacks across scale” in Biogeosciences.
 Guest editor for Special Issue: “Ecophysiological Remote Sensing” in Remote Sensing.
 Guest editor for Special Issue: "Advances in remote sensing and modeling towards sustainable agriculture in a changing climate" in Frontiers in Big Data.
 Selected special editor for Proceedings of National Academy of Science (PNAS).
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