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Shawn P. Serbin

Assistant 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

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

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. (2014). A quantitative assessment of a terrestrial biosphere model's data needs across North American biomes. Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences, DOI: 10.1002/2013JG002392.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kucharik, C.J., Serbin, S.P. (2008). Impacts of recent climate change on Wisconsin corn and soybean yield trends. Environmental Research Letters, 3 (3), 10pp.