Jie Liang

Post Doctoral Fellow

Jie Liang, completed a BSc degree in Geographic Science at Sun Yat-Sen University (2014) and then her PhD in Ecology at Tsinghua University (2019) supervised by Professor Guanghui Lin. There she quantified water-carbon processes in coastal mangrove forests using modelling she developed based on gas exchange and water isotopic signatures in a collaboration with Professor Xuhui Lee at Yale University and Professor Leonel Sternberg at University of Miami. From this she determined that water isotope ratios in plant stems were not identical to the source water. This opened up new questions for exploration.

She then took up a post-doctoral position (2019-2021) with Professor Graham Farquhar at the Australian National University (ANU). There she tested and modelled water processes within plant stems using water isotopic data, and determined the origin of the isotopic differences between stem water and source water. Her model is currently being applied to predict plant water status as reflected in the swelling and shrinkage of plant stems, a major research objective in her current post-doctoral position with Professor Marilyn C. Ball (ANU). She is also looking to quantify large scale plant water relations moving from physiological to regional processes. She has now developed a model of the mechanism of plant water use efficiency which will significantly improve our understanding of plant water use strategy and is being refined to include contributions of foliar water uptake to plant water balance and water use efficiency.

Research interests

Dr Liang’s primary research interest is in understanding how plants cope with water stress induced by, for example, salinity, drought, tidal inundation, and extreme temperature, and in foliar water uptake in water-limited ecosystems. She has developed four mathematical models to quantify drought effects on plant growth and development. These models are also important for predicting how plants respond to climate change. Much of this work has been either published in peer-reviewed scientific literature or presented at international conferences. Her work will be of importance to the agricultural industry and has attracted attention from newspapers and social media (two million readings).


Media attention

Google scholar


Book Chapter:

1. Jie Liang, Graham D. Farquhar and Marilyn C. Ball, 2022. Water use efficiency in mangroves: Conservation of water use efficiency determined by stomatal behavior across leaves, plants, and forests. In S. Shabala (Ed.), Advances in Botanical Research (Vol. 103, pp. 43-59): Academic Press.


2. Jie Liang, Zhongwang Wei, Xuhui Lee, JS Wright, X Cui, H Chen and G Lin, 2019. Evapotranspiration characteristics distinct to mangrove ecosystems are revealed by multiple-site observations and a modified two-source model. Water Resources Research, 55(11), 250-273.

5. Zhongwang Wei, Xuhui Lee, et al. & Jie Liang, 2019. A global database of water vapor isotopes measured with high temporal resolution infrared laser spectroscopy. Scientific data, 6, 180302.

3. Jie Liang, Jonathon S. Wright, Xiaowei Cui, Leonel Sternberg, Weixiu Gan, Gguanghui Lin, 2018. Leaf anatomical traits determine the 18O enrichment of leaf water in coastal halophytes. Plant Cell & Environment, 41(12), 2744-2757.

4. Xiaowei Cui, Jie Liang, et al. and Guanghui Lin, 2018. Stronger ecosystem carbon sequestration potential of mangrove wetlands with respect to terrestrial forests in subtropical China. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 249:71-80.

6. Xiang Lai, JS Wright, W Huang, Jie Liang, G Lin, & S Zhu, 2018. Contributions of Atmospheric Transport and Rain–Vapor Exchange to Near-Surface Water Vapor in the Zhanjiang Mangrove Reserve, Southern China: An Isotopic Perspective. Atmosphere, 9(9).

7. Xiaowei Cui, Weimin Song, Jianxiang Feng, Dai Jia, . . . Jie Liang, G Lin, 2017. Increased nitrogen input enhances Kandelia obovata seedling growth in the presence of invasive Spartina alterniflora in subtropical regions of China. Biology Letter, 13(1).

8. Jianhui Du, Anlong Liu, Yuxiang Dong, Mianyou Hu, Jie Liang, and Wei Li, 2014. Study on the root architectural characteristics of typical coastal psammophyte in South China. Chinese Journal of Plant Ecology, 38 (8): 888–895.