Wu Sun, Ph.D.

Global change ecology, from breathing leaves to swirling eddies


Postdoctoral Research Associate
Michalak Lab
Department of Global Ecology
Carnegie Institution for Science


My research focuses on the carbon cycle in terrestrial ecosystems. Under climate change, it is uncertain whether the terrestrial biosphere will continue serving as a carbon sink. To answer this question requires a robust understanding of how photosynthesis responds to climate. I strive to understand patterns and variability in terrestrial photosynthesis through the synergy of observations and process-based models. I have developed a particular interest in novel tracers for photosynthesis observations — carbonyl sulfide and solar induced chlorophyll fluorescence. At Carnegie Global Ecology, I work with Dr. Anna Michalak to use geostatistical approaches to constrain the patterns of photosynthesis in North America.

I received my Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from UCLA and B.Sc. in Geology from Nanjing University. My dissertation work used chamber observations and reactive transport modeling to understand carbonyl sulfide exchange between soils and the atmosphere. My recent work explored applications of carbonyl sulfide as a leaf-scale tracer for stomatal conductance.

Besides my main research activities, I am interested in scientific computing and data science. I use Python, R, Julia, and other programming languages to solve research problems and I like to spend some of my leisure time tinkering my own packages.

Research interests

  • Biosphere–atmosphere exchange of carbon, water, and trace gases
  • Photosynthesis, chlorophyll fluorescence, and stomatal conductance
  • Physical and microbial controls of soil trace gas fluxes
  • Applications of statistical learning in biogeosciences