Ecology Program Area

San Diego State University

EPA Focal Faculty Facilities BS MS PhD

Lai, Chun-Ta

Associate Professor of Biology

Ph.D., Duke University (2001)

(619) 594-0678

Home page:

Research Interests:  
I am an ecosystem ecologist specializing in terrestrial ecosystem response and feedback to climate change. My research focuses on questions surrounding water and carbon transfer from leaf to regional scales. I have been working on developing new techniques for detecting stable isotopic variation at multiple scales, and the use of isotopic signals in studies of ecosystem-atmosphere interaction. My current research projects center on an atmospheric isotope network that presents a continuous, long-term record of isotope changes relating to CO2 and water exchange on land. These isotope measurements provide an unparalleled opportunity to study eco-hydrological impacts of climate change as the data stream grows in time.

Contact me through emails ( if you are interested in learning more about joining us.

Selected Publications (click here to see an updated list)
Lai, C.-T., A. Schauer, C. Owensby, J.M. Ham, B.R. Helliker, P.P. Tans, and J.R. Ehleringer, Regional CO2 fluxes inferred from mixing ratio measurements: estimates from flasked air samples in central Kansas, USA, Tellus B, in press.

Lai, C.-T., W. Riley, C. Owensby, J. Ham, A. Schauer, and J. Ehleringer (2006), Seasonal and interannual variations of carbon and oxygen isotopes of respired CO2 in a tallgrass prairie: Measurements and modeling results from three years with contrasting water availability, Journal of Geophysical Research-atmosphere, 111, D08S06, doi:10.1029/2005JD006436.

Lai, C.-T., J. Ehleringer, B. Bond, and K.T. Paw U (2006), Contributions of evaporation, isotopic non-steady state transpiration, and atmospheric mixing on the 18O of water vapor in Pacific Northwest coniferous forests, Plant, Cell and Environment, 29(1), 77-94, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2005.01402.x.



The statements found on this page/site are for informational purposes only. While every effort is made to ensure that this information is up to date and accurate, official information can be found in the university publications.

Last updated September 10, 2006

Comments may be sent to Dr. Kevin Hovel: