Wei Ren

Wei Ren
Assistant Professor

Additional Information


The Ren Lab is to study Climate-Ecosystem-Human interactions and feedbacks by using an integrated systems approach and developing interdisciplinary, collaborative, and integrated research programs, for providing a scientific basis and potential climate adaptation and mitigation strategies for sustainable agriculture and natural resource management.

Visit the Ren Lab website at www.ren-lab.com to learn more about our research.

Research Interests

Dr. Ren is broadly interested in understanding, assessing, and predicting interactions and feedbacks between natural and anthropogenic processes in Earth’s Ecosystems and Climate System by using an integrated systems approach with a combination of numerical models, remote sensing/GIS, and field observations/ measurements. She works at multiple spatiotemporal scales, ranging from field level to watershed, regional, and global levels, and over daily, seasonal, annual, decadal, and century scales. Her research foci are to 1) investigate the impacts of coupled natural and anthropogenic factors (climate, CO2, air pollution, land cover change, and diverse land management practices); 2) assess biogeochemical dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems (cropland, grassland, forest) as influenced by global changes at broad scales (e.g. Mississippi River Basin, southeastern US, North America, China, India, Monsoon Asia, and the Globe); 3) develop and improve land ecosystem models, by incorporating improved representations of physical, chemical, and biological processes, to enhance the capability in simulating human activities as an interdependent component of the earth system;4) use, analyze, and synthesize big data derived from site-level observations/experiments and remote sensing platforms for addressing broad-scaled ecological research questions.


Agroclimatology, Ecosystem Modeling, Global Change Ecology


Ph.D. Ecology, Auburn University, 2009

Professional Experience

Assistant Professor, Department of Plant & Soil Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment, University of Kentucky, 2015 - present

Research Fellow, International Center for Climate and Global Change Research, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, 2011 - 2015

Selected Publications

  • Huang, Y., W. Ren, L. Wang, D. Hui, J. Grove, X. Yang, B. Tao, and B. Goff (2018), Greenhouse gas emissions and crop yield in no-tillage systems: a meta-analysis.  Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment, 268: 144-153.

  • Ren W. (2018) Towards an Integrated Agroecosystem Modeling Approach for Climate-Smart Agricultural Management. In: Wendroth, O., R.J. Lascano, and L. Ma (Eds.) Bridging among disciplines by synthesizing soil and plant processes. Advances in Agricultural Systems Modeling, Volume 8: 127-144, ASA, CSSA, SSSA, Madison, WI 53711-5801, USA.

  • Dangal, Shree R.S., H. Tian, C. Lu, W. Ren, S. Pan, J. Yang, N. Di Cosmo, A. Hessl (2017), Integrating Herbivore Population Dynamics into a Global Land Biosphere Model: Plugging Animals into the Earth System. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems. 9, 2920–2945, DOI: 10.1002/2016MS000904
  • Zhang, C. and W. Ren (2017), Complex climatic and CO2 controls on net primary productivity of temperate dryland ecosystems over central Asia during 1980–2014, Journal of Geophysical Research:Biogeosciences, 122, doi:10.1002/ 2017JG003781.
  • Pan, S., G. Chen, W. Ren, SRS Dangal, K. Banger, J. Yang, B. Tao, and H. Tian (2017), Responses of global terrestrial water use efficiency to climate change and rising atmospheric CO2 concentration in the twenty-first century, International Journal of Digital Earth, 1-25, DOI: 10.1080/17538947.2017.1337818
  • Ren, W., H.Q. Tian, W. Cai, S.E. Lohrenz, C.S. Hopkinson, W. Huang, J. Yang, B. Tao, S.F. Pan, and R. He (2016), Century-long increasing trend and variability of dissolved organic carbon export from the Mississippi River basin driven by natural and anthropogenic forcing, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 30(9):1288-1299, DOI: 10.1002/2016GB005395.
  • Tian, H.Q., W. Ren, B. Tao, G. Sun, A. Chappelka, X. Wang, S. Pan, J. Yang, J. Liu, B. S. Felzer, J. M. Melillo, and J. Reilly (2016), Climate extremes and ozone pollution: a growing threat to China's food security, Ecosystem Health and Sustainability, 2(1), DOI:10.1002/ehs2.1203.
  • Jin, N., B. Tao, W. Ren, M. Feng, R. Sun, L. He, W. Zhuang, and Q. Yu (2016), Mapping irrigated and rainfed wheat areas using multi-temporal satellite data, Remote Sensing, 8(3):207, DOI: 10.3390/rs8030207.
  • Zhang, B., H.Q. Tian, W. Ren, B. Tao, C. Lu, J. Yang, K. Banger, and S. Pan (2016), Methane emissions from global rice fields: magnitude, spatiotemporal patterns and environmental controls, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 30(9):1246-1263, DOI: 10.1002/2016GB005381.
  • An, P., W. Ren, X. Liu, M. Song, and X. Li (2016), Adjustment and optimization of the cropping systems under water constraint, Sustainability, 8 (12): 1207, DOI: 10.3390/su8121207.
  • Ren, W, Tian, H,Tao,B.,Yang, J.Pan,S, Cai, W.,Lohrenz, S., He, R.,Hopinson, C (2015), Large increase in dissolved inorganic carbon flux from the Mississippi River to Gulf of Mexico due to climatic and anthropogenic changes over the 21st century, Journal of Geophysical Research:Biogeosciences DOI: 10.1002/2014JG002761 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0137409.
  • Tian, H., W. Ren, J. Yang , B. Tao, W. Cai , S.E. Lohrenz, C.S. Hopkinson, M. Liu, Q. Yang, C. Lu , B. Zhang, K. Banger, S. Pan, R. He, and Z. Xue, Climate extremes dominating seasonal and interannual variations in carbon export from the Mississippi River Basin, (2015) Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 29, doi:10.1002/ 2014GB005068.
  • Tian et al. (29 coauthors), Global patterns and controls of soil organic carbon dynamics as simulated by multiple terrestrial biosphere models: current status and future directions, (2015), Global Biogeochemical Cycles, doi: 10.1002/2014GB005021
  • Dang, Y., W. Ren , B. Tao, G. S. Chen, C. Q. Lu, J. Yang, S. F. Pan, G. D. Wang, S. Q. Li, and H. Q. Tian (2014), Climate and land use controls on soil organic Carbon in the Loess Plateau Region of China, PLOS ONE, 9(5), e95548, DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0095548.
  • Ren, W., H. Q. Tian, B. Tao, Y. Huang, and S. F. Pan (2012), China's crop productivity and soil carbon storage as influenced by multifactor global change, Global Change Biology, 18(9), 2945-2957, doi:DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2012.02741.x.
  • Tian, H. Q., C. Lu, J. Melillo, W. Ren, Y. Huang, X. Xu, M. Liu, C. Zhang, G. Chen, S. Pan, J. Liu, and J. Reilly (2012), Food benefit and climate warming potential of nitrogen fertilizer uses in China, Environmental Research Letters, 7(4), n044020, Doi 10.1088/1748-9326/7/4/044020.
  • Ren, W., H. Q. Tian, X. F. Xu, M. L. Liu, C. Q. Lu, G. S. Chen, J. Melillo, J. Reilly, and J. Y. Liu (2011a), Spatial and temporal patterns of CO2 and CH4 fluxes in China's croplands in response to multifactor environmental changes, Tellus B, 63(2), 222-240, doi:DOI 10.1111/j.1600-0889.2010.00522.x.
  • Ren, W., H. Q. Tian, B. Tao, A. Chappelka, G. Sun, C. Q. Lu, M. L. Liu, G. S. Chen, and X. F. Xu (2011b), Impacts of tropospheric ozone and climate change on net primary productivity and net carbon exchange of China's forest ecosystems, Global Ecology and Biogeography, 20(3), 391-406, doi:DOI 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00606.x.
  • Ren, W., H. Tian, G. Chen, M. Liu, C. Zhang, A. H. Chappelka, and S. Pan (2007a), Influence of ozone pollution and climate variability on net primary productivity and carbon storage in China's grassland ecosystems from 1961 to 2000, Environmental Pollution, 149(3), 327-335, doi:DOI 10.1016/j.envpol.2007.05.029.
  • Ren, W., H. Q. Tian, M. L. Liu, C. Zhang, G. S. Chen, S. F. Pan, B. Felzer, and X. F. Xu (2007b), Effects of tropospheric ozone pollution on net primary productivity and carbon storage in terrestrial ecosystems of China, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 112(D22), D22s09, Doi 10.1029/2007jd008521.