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Shawn P. Serbin

Associate Ecologist

Shawn Serbin is broadly trained in forest ecology, plant physiology, ecosystem science and remote sensing. His research focuses on the exchanges of carbon, water and energy between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere with a focus on scaling and model-data synthesis. Shawn’s research spans several global biomes and leverages a number of tools including spectroscopy and novel quantitative methods, which he uses to effectively scale process knowledge.


  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D., Forest Ecology
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, M.S. Forest Ecology; M.S. Environmental Monitoring
  • Michigan State University, B.A. Telecommunications with a cognate in Geography and Geographic Information Sciences

Areas of Interest

  • Ecosystem ecology, reflectance spectroscopy, remote sensing, plant physiology, chemical ecology, disturbance ecology, ecosystem monitoring, land-use change, biosphere-atmosphere interactions, terrestrial carbon cycle, ecosystem process modeling, radiative transfer modeling, global environmental change.

Awards, Honors, & Memberships

  • 2010 Dr. Laurel Salton Clark Memorial Graduate Fellowship, Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (WSGC)
  • 2008 Earth & Space Sciences Fellowship (ESSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • 2004 Merit award, Michigan State University, Undergraduate Research & Arts Forum
  • 2003 Young Scientist Award, International Arctic Science Committee (IASC)
  • Member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the Ecological Society of America (ESA)

Selected Publications

Burnett, A., Davidson, K., Serbin, S. P., and Rogers, A. The ‘one-point method’ for estimating maximum carboxylation capacity of photosynthesis: a cautionary tale. Plant, Cell Environ., accepted (2019).

Shiklomanov, A. N., Bradley, B. A., Dahlin, K. M., Fox, A., Gough, C. M., Hoffman, F. M., Middleton, E., Serbin, S. P., Smallman, L., and Smith, W. K. Enhancing global change experiments through integration of remote-sensing techniques. Front. Ecol. Environ., accepted (2019).

Ely, K. S., Burnett, A. C., Lieberman-Cribbin, W., Serbin, S., and Rogers, A. Spectroscopy can predict key leaf traits associated with source–sink balance and carbon–nitrogen status. J. Exp. Bot., accepted (2019).

Dickman, L. T., McDowell, N. G., Grossiord, C., Collins, A. D., Wolfe, B. T., Detto, M., Wright, S. J., Medina-Vega, J. A., Goodsman, D., Rogers, A., Serbin, S. P., Wu, J., Ely, K. S., Michaletz, S. T., Xu, C., Kueppers, L., and Chambers, J. Q. Homeostatic maintenance of non-structural carbohydrates during the 2015-2016 El Nino drought across a tropical forest precipitation gradient. Plant, Cell & Environ., in press (2018).

Silva-Perez, V., Molero, G., Serbin, S. P., Condon, A. G., Reynolds, M. P., Furbank, R. T., and Evans, J. R. Hyperspectral reflectance as a tool to measure biochemical and physiological traits in wheat. J. Experimental Botany, online, doi:10.1093/jxb/erx421 (2017).

Cavender-Bares, J., Meireles, J., Couture, J., Kaproth, M., Kingdon, C., Singh, A., Serbin, S., Center, A., Zuniga, E., Pilz, G., and Townsend, P. Associations of Leaf Spectra with Genetic and Phylogenetic Variation in Oaks: Prospects for Remote Detection of Biodiversity. Remote Sensing 8, 221, doi:10.3390/rs8030221 (2016).

Couture, J. J., Singh, A., Rubert-Nason, K. F., Serbin, S. P., Lindroth, R. L., and Townsend, P. A. Spectroscopic determination of ecologically relevant plant secondary metabolites. Methods  Ecol. Evolut., 1-11, doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12596 (2016).

De Kauwe, M. G., Lin, Y.-S., Wright, I. J., Medlyn, B. E., Crous, K. Y., Ellsworth, D. S., Maire, V., Prentice, I. C., Atkin, O. K., Rogers, A., Niinemets, Ü., Serbin, S. P., Meir, P., Uddling, J., Togashi, H. F., Tarvainen, L., Weerasinghe, L. K., Evans, B. J., Ishida, F. Y., and Domingues, T. F. A test of the 'one-point method' for estimating maximum carboxylation capacity from field-measured, light-saturated photosynthesis. New Phytologist 210, 1130-1144, doi:10.1111/nph.13815 (2016).

Kucharik, C. J., Mork, A. C., Meehan, T. D., Serbin, S. P., Singh, A., Townsend, P. A., Stack Whitney, K., and Gratton, C. Evidence for Compensatory Photosynthetic and Yield Response of Soybeans to Aphid Herbivory.  J. Econ. Entomol. 109, 1177-1187, doi:10.1093/jee/tow066 (2016).

Yang, X., Tang, J., Mustard, J. F., Wu, J., Zhao, K., Serbin, S., and Lee, J.-E. Seasonal variability of multiple leaf traits captured by leaf spectroscopy at two temperate deciduous forests. Remote Sens. Environ. 179, 1-12, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2016.03.026 (2016).

Perillo, A. C., Kucharik, C. J., Meehan, T. D., Serbin, S. P., Singh, A., Townsend, P. A., Whitney, K. S., and Gratton, C. Use of insect exclusion cages in soybean creates an altered microclimate and differential crop response.  Agricult. Forest Meteorol. 208, 50-61, doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2015.04.014 (2015).

Serbin, S. P., Singh, A., Desai, A. R., Dubois, S. G., Jablonski, A. D., Kingdon, C. C., Kruger, E. L., and Townsend, P. A. Remotely estimating photosynthetic capacity, and its response to temperature, in vegetation canopies using imaging spectroscopy. Remote Sens. Environ. 167, 78-87 (2015).

Singh, A., Serbin, S. P., McNeil, B. E., Kingdon, C. C., and Townsend, P. A. Imaging spectroscopy algorithms for mapping canopy foliar chemical and morphological traits and their uncertainties. Ecological Applications 25, 2180-2197, doi:10.1890/14-2098.1 (2015).

Serbin, S.P., Singh, A., McNeil, B.E., Townsend, P.A.  Spectroscopic determination of leaf morphological, nutritional, and biochemical traits for northern temperate and boreal tree species. Ecological Applications, doi: (2014).

Dietze, M.C., Serbin, S.P., LeBauer, D.S., Davidson, C.D., Desai, A.R., Feng, X., Kelly, R., Kooper, R., D.S., Mantooth, J., McHenry, K.  A quantitative assessment of a terrestrial biosphere model's data needs across North American biomes. J. Geophys. Res. Biogeosci. 119, 286-300, doi:10.1002/2013JG002392 (2014).

Ainsworth, E.A., Serbin, S.P., Skoneczka, J.A., Townsend, P.A. Using leaf optical properties to detect ozone effects on foliar biochemistry.  Photosynthesis Res. 119(1-2), 65-76 (2014).

Bernacchi, C.J., Bagley, J.E., Serbin, S.P., Ruiz-Vera, U.M., Rosenthal, D.M., Van Loocke, A.  Modeling C3 photosynthesis from the chloroplast to the ecosystem. Plant Cell & Environ. 36(9), 1641-1657, doi:10.1111/pce.12118 (2013).

Serbin, S.P., Ahl, D.E., Gower, S.T.  Spatial and temporal validation of the MODIS LAI and FPAR products across a boreal forest wildfire chronosequence.  Remote Sens. Environ. 133, 71-84 (2013).

Isaacson, B., Serbin, S., and Townsend, P.   Detection of relative differences in phenology of forest species using Landsat and MODIS.  Landscape Ecology 27 (4), 529-543 (2012).

Serbin, S.P., Dillaway, D., Kruger, E.L., Townsend, P.A.  Leaf optical properties reflect variation in photosynthetic metabolism and its sensitivity to temperature.  J. Exper. Botany 63, 489-502 (2012).

Serbin, S.P., Gower, S.T., Ahl, D.E.  Canopy dynamics and phenology of a boreal black spruce wildfire chronosequence.  Agricult. Forest Meteorol. 149, 187-204 (2009).

Kucharik, C.J., Serbin, S.P.  Impacts of recent climate change on Wisconsin corn and soybean yield trends.  Environ. Res. Lettrs 3 (3), 034003 (10pp) (2008).