Natasha MacBean

Assistant Professor
Jointly Appointed with the Department of Biology

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Contact Information

Office: Room 2412, SSC
Lab: Room 2404, SSC
Tel: 519 661-2111, 85008

Research Website
Google Scholar

Research Areas

Carbon and biogeochemical cycles, vegetation dynamics, climate and environmental change, land surface modelling, environmental remote sensing, model-data fusion/data assimilation

Research Interests

Dr. MacBean’s research focuses on understanding climate-carbon-vegetation interactions in response to climate change, rising CO2, and land use and land cover change. She use two main approaches: 1) developing, testing, and optimizing process-based terrestrial biosphere models; and 2) spatiotemporal data analysis to interpret field and satellite observations. Her work spans scales from ecosystems to the globe, from boreal to tropical forests, and from temperate to semi-arid grasslands. At Western Dr MacBean leads the C3E Lab: Carbon Cycle, Climate, and Ecosystems.


GEO 3353/ 9105 – Environmental modelling

BIO 3425 – Global Change Biology

Supervised Graduate Students and Theses Titles

PhD Students

  • M. Joshi (Current) Modelling Forest Management Impacts on Carbon Sequestration
  • R. Pervin (Current, Indiana University) Mapping and Modelling Dryland Vegetation and Carbon Cycle Patterns and Processes


Refereed Journals

Peer-reviewed journal articles (Student (†) and Postdoc (‡) trainees from my lab underlined)

Steiner, B., Scott, R.L., Hu, J., MacBean, N., Richardson, A., and Moore, D.J.P. (2024) Using Phenology to Unravel Differential Soil Water Use and Productivity in a Semiarid Savanna, Ecosphere, 15, e4762

Massoud, E.C., Hoffman, F., Shi, Z., Tang, J., Alhajjar, E., Barnes, M.L., Braghiere, R.K., Cardon, Z., Collier, N., Crompton, O., Dennedy-Frank, P.J., Gautam, S., Gonzalez-Meler, M.A., Green, J.K., Koven, C., Levine, P., MacBean, N., Mao, J., Tran Mills, R., Mishra, U., Mudunuru, M., Renchon, A.A., Scott, S., Siirila-Woodburn, E.R., Sprenger, M., Tague, C., Wang, Y., Xu, C., and Zarakasz, C. (2023) Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence for Predictions in Ecohydrology, Artificial Intelligence for the Earth Systems, 2 (4), e230005

Scott, R.L., Johnston, M.R., Knowles, J.F., MacBean, N., ‡Mahmud, K., Roby, M., and Dannenberg, M. (2023), Interannual variability of spring and summer monsoon growing season carbon exchange at a semiarid savanna over nearly two decades, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 339, 109584

Bacour, C., MacBean, N., Chevallier, F., Léonard, S., Koffi, E., and Peylin, P. (2023), Assimilation of multiple datasets results in large differences in regional- to global-scale NEE and GPP budgets simulated by a terrestrial biosphere model, Biogeosciences, 20, 1089-1111

Wang, L., Jiao, W., MacBean, N., Ruilli, M.C., Manzoni, S., Vico, G., and D'Odorio, P. (2022), Dryland productivity under a changing climate: global trends, key drivers, and uncertainties, Nature Climate Change, 12, 981-994

Kumar, S., Kolassa, J., Reichle, R., Crow, W., de Lannoy, G., de Rosnay, P., MacBean, N., Girotto, M., Fox, A., Quaife, T., Draper, C., Forman, B., Balsamao, G., Steele-Dunne, S., Albergel, C., Bonan, B., Calvet, J.-C., Dong, J., Liddy, H., and Ruston, B. (2022), An Agenda for Land Data Assimilation Priorities: Realizing the Promise of Terrestrial Water, Energy, and Vegetation Observations From Space, Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 14, e2022MS003259

†Pervin, R., Robeson, S., and MacBean, N. (2022), Fusion of airborne hyperspectral and LiDAR canopy-height data for estimating fractional cover of tall woody plants, herbaceous vegetation, and other soil cover types in a semi-arid savanna ecosystem, International Journal of Remote Sensing, 43, 3890-3926

Fox, A., Huo, X., Hoar, T., Dashti, H., Smith, W.K., MacBean, N., Anderson, J.A., Roby, M.C., and Moore, D.J.P. (2022), Assimilation of Global Satellite Leaf Area Estimates Reduces Modeled Global Carbon Uptake and Energy Loss by Terrestrial Ecosystems, Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 127, e2022JG006830

MacBean, N., Bacour, C., Raoult, N., Bastrikov, V., Koffi, E.N., Kuppel, S., Maignan, F., Ottlé, C., Peaucelle, M., Santaren, D., and Peylin, P. (2022), Quantifying and Reducing Uncertainty in Global Carbon Cycle Predictions: Lessons and Perspectives From 15 Years of Data Assimilation Studies with the ORCHIDEE Terrestrial Biosphere Model, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 36, e2021GB007177

Novick, K., Ficklin, D.L., Baldocchi, D., Davis, K.J., Ghezzehei, T., Konings, A.G., MacBean, N., Raoult, N., Scott, R.L., Shi, Y., Sulman, B.N., and Wood, J.D. (2022), Confronting the Water Potential Information Gap, Nature Geosciences, 15, 158-164

Barnes, M.L., Farella, M.M., Scott, R.L., Moore, D.J.P., Ponce-Campos, G.E., Biederman, J.A., MacBean, N., Litvak, M.E., and Breshears, D.D. (2021), Improved dryland carbon flux predictions with explicit consideration of water-carbon coupling, Communications: Earth & Environment, 2, 248

‡Mahmud, K., Biederman, J.A., Scott, R.L., Litvak, M.E., Kolb, T., Meyers, T., Krishnan, P., Bastrikov, V., and MacBean, N. (2021), Optimizing Carbon Cycle Parameters Drastically Improves Terrestrial Biosphere Model Underestimates of Dryland Mean Net CO2 Flux and its Inter‐Annual Variability, Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 126, e2021JG006400

MacBean, N., Scott, R.L., Biederman, J.A., Peylin, P., Kolb, T., Litvak, M.E., Krishnan, P., Meyers, T., Arora, V., Bastrikov, V., Goll, D., Lombardozzi, D.L., Nabel, J., Pongratz, J., Sitch, S., Walker, A.P., Zaehle, S., and Moore, D.J.P. (2021), Dynamic Global Vegetation Models Underestimate Net CO2 Flux Mean and Inter-Annual Variability in Semiarid Ecosystems, Environmental Research Letters, 16, 094023

MacBean, N., Scott, R.L., Biederman, J.A., Ottlé, C., Vuichard, N., Ducharne, A., Kolb, T., Dore, S., Litvak, M.E., and Moore, D.J.P. (2020), Testing water fluxes and storage from two hydrology configurations within the ORCHIDEE land surface model across US semi-arid sites, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 24, 5203-5230

Walker, A. P., De Kauwe, M.G., Bastos, A., Belmecheri., S., Georgiou, K., Keeling, R., McMahon, S., Medlyn, B.E., Moore, D.J.P., Norby, R.J., Zaehle, S., Anderson-Teixeira, K.J., Battipaglia, G., Brienen, R.J.W., Cabugao, K., Cailleret, M., Campbell, E., Canadell, J., Ciais, P., Craig, M.E., Ellsworth, D., Farquhar, G., Fatichi, S., Fisher, J., Frank, D., Graven, H., Gu, L., Haverd, V., Heilman, K., Heimann, M., Hungate, B.A., Iversen, C.M., Joos, F., Jiang, M., Keenan, T.F., Knauer, J., Smith, W.K., Körner, C., Leshyk, V.O., Leuzinger, S., Liu, Y., MacBean, N., Malhi, Y., McVicar, T., Penuelas, J., Pongratz, J., Shafer Powell, A., Riutta, T., Sabot, M.E.B., Schleucher, J., Sitch, S., Sulman, B., Taylor, B., Terrer, C., Torn, M., Treseder, K., Trugman, A.T., Trumbore, S., van Mantgem, P.J., Voelker, S.L., Whelan, M., and Ziudema, P. (2020), Integrating evidence for a terrestrial carbon sink caused by increasing atmospheric CO2, New Phytologist, 229, 2413–2445

Parazoo, N., Magney, T., Norton, A., Raczka, R., Bacour, C., Maignan, F., Baker, I., Zhang, Y., Qiu, B., Shi, M., MacBean, N., Bowling, D., Burns, S., Blanken, P., Stutz, J., Grossman, K., and Frankenberg, C. (2020), Wide Discrepancies in the Magnitude and Direction of Modelled SIF in Response to Light Conditions, Biogeosciences, 17, 3733-3755

Smith, W.K., Fox, A., MacBean, N., Moore, D.J.P., and Parazoo, N. (2020) Constraining estimates of terrestrial carbon uptake: New opportunities using long-term satellite observations and data assimilation, New Phytologist, 225, 105-112. (Invited Tansley Insight)

Smith, W.K., Dannenberg, M., Yan, D., Herrmann, S., Barnes, M.L., Barron-Gafford, G.A., Biederman, J.A., Ferrenberg, S., Fox, A.M., Hudson, A.R., Knowles, J.F., MacBean, N., Moore, D.J.P., Nagler, P.L., Reed, S.C., Rutherford W.A., Scott, R.L., Wang, X., and Yang, J. (2019), Remote sensing of dryland ecosystem structure and function: Progress, challenges and opportunities, Remote Sensing of Environment, 233, 111401

Bacour, C., Maignan, F., Peylin, P., MacBean, N., Bastrikov, V., Joiner, J., Köhler, P., Guanter, L., and Frankenberg, C. (2019), Differences between OCO2 and GOME2 SIF products from a model-data fusion perspective, Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 124, 3143–3157

Bacour, C., Maignan, F., MacBean, N., Porcar-Castell, A., Flexas, J., Frankenberg, C., Peylin, P., Chevallier, F., and Vuichard, N. (2019), Improving estimates of Gross Primary Productivity by assimilating solar-induced fluorescence satellite retrievals in a terrestrial biosphere model using a mechanistic SIF model, Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 124, 3281–3306

Duncanson, L., Armston, J., Disney, M., Avitabile, V., Barbier, N., Calders, K., Carter, S., Chave, J., Herold, M., Crowther, T., Falkowski, M., Kellner, J., Labrière, N., Lucas, R., MacBean, N., McRoberts, R.E., Meyer, V., Næsset, E., Nickeson, J.E., Paul, K.I., Phillips, O.L., Réjou-Méchain, M., Román, M., Roxburgh, S., Saatchi, S., Schepashenko, D., Scipal, K., Siqueira, P.R., Williams, M., and Whitehurst, A. (2019), The Importance of Consistent Global Forest Aboveground Biomass Product Validation, Surveys in Geophysics, 40, 979-999

Exbrayat, J.-F., Bloom, A.A., Carvalhais, N., Fischer, R., Huth, A., MacBean, N., and Williams, M. (2019), Understanding the land carbon cycle with space data: current status and prospects, Surveys in Geophysics, 40, 735-755

Book Chapters, Conference Proceedings, and Other Published Works

Griffies, S. M., Fan, J., MacBean, N., and Schneider, T. (2023) Aims and Scope of JAMES, Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 15 (4), e2023MS003741

MacBean, N., Liddy, H., Quaife, T., Kolassa, J., and Fox, A. (2022), Building a land data assimilation community to tackle technical challenges in quantifying and reducing uncertainty in land model predictions, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (Meeting Summary), 103, E733-E740

Bastos, A., Naipal, V. Ahlström, A., MacBean, N., Smith, W.K., and Poulter, B. (2022), Semiarid Ecosystems. In B. Poulter, J. Canadell, D. Hayes, and R. Thompson (Eds.), Balancing Greenhouse Gas Budgets: Accounting for Natural and Anthropogenic Flows of CO2 and other Trace Gases, pp. 311-335. Elsevier

Duncanson, L., Armston, J., Disney, M., Avitabile, V., Barbier, N., Calders, K., Carter, S., Chave, J., Herold, M., MacBean, N., et al. (2021), Aboveground Woody Biomass Product Validation Good Practices Protocol. Version 1.0. In L. Duncanson, M. Disney, J. Armston, J. Nickeson, D. Minor, and F. Camacho (Eds.), Good Practices for Satellite Derived Land Product Validation, (p. 236): Land Product Validation Subgroup (WGCV/CEOS), doi:10.5067/doc/ceoswgcv/lpv/agb.001

Mohammed, G.H., Colombo, R., Moreno, J., van der Tol, C., Rascher, R., Alonso, L., Cogliati, S., Damm, A., Fawcett, D., Gomez-Dans, J., Henry, C., Lewis, P., MacBean, N., Magnani, F., Malaprade, J., Matveeva, M., Olejníčková, J., Pernokis, D., Pinto, F., Raddi, S., Rajh Vilfan, N., Rivera, J.P., Rossini, M., Sabater, N., Schickling, A., Tenjo, C., Verhoef, W., Verrelst, J., Vicent Servera, J., and Drusch, M. (2016) 2014 FLEX/Sentinel-3 Tandem Mission FLEX Bridge Study – Final Report,