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Tong Qiu, Ph.D.

Postdoc Associate

Duke University Nicholas School of Environment


  I am a postdoc working with Dr. Jim Clark and Dr. Jennifer Swenson. I received my Ph.D. at UNC-Chapel Hill under the tutelage of Dr. Conghe Song. I am always drawn to ecological questions at continental-to-global scales. Answering those questions requires a data-model synthesis framework that combines remote sensing with the state-of-the-art quantitative models. Currently, I am working on how habitat characteristics derived from Hyperspectral remote sensing affect communities of vascular plants and beetles using gjam/gjamTime at NEON sites. In addition, I aim to explore how tree size and phenology (i.e. spring budburst and fall senescence) influence tree masting using mastif and how masting affects biodiversity.

  For my doctoral research, I worked with Dr. Conghe Song, Dr. Jim Clark, Dr. Erika Wise, Dr. Diego Riveros-Iregui, and Dr. Allen Hurlbert to quantify how vegetation phenology responds to climate change, extreme weather events, and land cover land use change (e.g. urbanization). My disssertation has

  • Built a framework to separate temporal shifts of phenology related with climate change from those caused by urbanization
  • Tested the importance of incorporating landscape metrics in characterizing the spatial patterns of phenology along a rural-to-urban gradient
  • Developed a Bayesian space-time model that enhanced our understanding of the continuous response of phenology to weather stressors and climate change across broad biogeographic gradients
  • Forecasted future phenological shifts using projected climate and weather conditions


  • biodiversity and global change
  • Tree masting
  • Vegetation phenology
  • Remote Sensing
  • Bayesian Hierarchical Model


  • Ph.D. in physical geography, 2020

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • B.Eng. in remote sensing, 2015

    Wuhan University (with the highest honor, GPA ranking 1/229)


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Urbanization and climate change jointly shift land surface phenology in the northern mid-latitude large cities

We found that amplitude of urbanization, quantified as changes of %ISA, can compensate the negative effects (delayed SOS or advanced …

Recent & Upcoming Talks

Predicting When and Where Autumn Foliage Coloration will Peak in the United States

This talk is for the final round of UNC-Chapel Hill 3MT thesis competition, related with my dissertation research.

Recent News

Paper on remote sensing of environment

We aim to capture the continuous phenological development at daily time step and model its response to climate change and extreme …

I advanced to the UNC-Chapel Hill 3MT Final

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an academic competition that assists current graduate students with fostering effective presentation …

Honors and Awards

Graduate Student Transportation Grant

Top 10 Finalist for 3MT thesis competition

James Carlton Ingram Summer Research Fellowship

Finalist in Student Honors Paper

Best Student Paper

Conference Travel Award (four times)

Best Undergraduate Thesis (3%)

Presidential Fellowship (0.4%), equivalent to Full-ride Scholarship in the U.S.

Geoway Remote Sensing Academic Star (0.4%)

Best Group Presentation (10%)

Outstanding Engineer Fellowship, awarded a summer school in University of Cambridge (10%)

Pacemaker for Outstanding student (0.4%, twice)

National Undergraduate Innovative Fellowship (2%)

First-class Scholarsihp (5%, three times)

Outstanding student (5%, three times)

National Fellowship (2%, three times)