Natasha MacBean


I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Indiana University in Bloomington. In my research I study interactions between vegetation dynamics, carbon and water cycles at scales ranging from ecosystems to the globe. I use field and satellite data analysis, together with process-based models, to better understand terrestrial biogeochemical processes in response to anthropogenic environmental change and natural disturbance. A key objective of my research is to use this knowledge to improve model projections of feedbacks between the terrestrial biosphere, climate change, and human activity, and to use these models to investigate how we can mitigate the impact of future global change.

Previously, I was a Research Associate in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona, working with Dave Moore and Russ Scott and Joel Biederman at the USDA ARS on the interaction between vegetation dynamics and carbon and water cycling in semi-arid/dryland ecosystems. Before that I was a Research Scientist at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE) in Paris, working primarily with Philippe PeylinFabienne MaignanCédric Bacour and Philippe Ciais. My work was centered around using both satellite and in-situ data to constrain the parameters of the ORCHIDEE land surface model (part of the IPSL earth system model), with a particular focus on constraining the global land carbon sink. For more information about our ongoing work in the ORCHIDEE data assimilation team please see our website.

Another strand of my research at LSCE was related to analysing uncertainties in land cover to plant functional type mapping as part of the European Space Agency (ESA) Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Land Cover Project, as well as investigating the impact of land use and land cover change scenarios on simulated carbon, water and energy fluxes.

Prior to moving to Paris I earned my Undergraduate and Master’s Degrees in Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford, and following that my PhD in Land Surface Modelling and Remote Sensing at University College London with Mathias Disney and Philip Lewis. My PhD research focused on using a model-data fusion approach to improve simulations of methane fluxes from peatlands using chamber measurements and earth observation data. On the side I also worked with field biologists at the University of York to investigate how best to upscale carbon flux measurements to derive a landscape scale carbon budget – a tricky topic I hope to come back to one day!

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