Adam Wolf @ Princeton

Ecology, Earth System Science & Global Change Biology



Adam Wolf
Princeton University
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Princeton, NJ 08544-1003 – 510.207.8303

My research investigates the role of plants as they regulate water, carbon, and nutrient cycles between the soil and the atmosphere in different ecosystems, with the goal of sustainable management of Earth’s natural resources by improved understanding of state and process. A central theme is the translation of processes between scales, from species to biome, from leaf to crown, from stand to continent. Along the way, many different tools can be brought to bear, including remote sensing, embedded sensors, flux measurements, phylogeography and ecoinformatics, data assimilation, numerical and theoretical modeling, and novel statistics.


2010 Ph.D.,  Stanford University

Biological Sciences, Ecology and Evolution Section

Dissertation: A forward model for data assimilation of forest ecology from remote sensing

Thesis Advisors, Joseph Berry and Christopher Field

2001 M.Sc., University of California, Davis


Thesis: Landscape Patterns of SOM, Snow, and Wind Erosion in North Kazakhstan

2001 M.Sc., University of California, Davis

International Agricultural Development

1997 B.Sc., University of California, Davis

Major: Agricultural Systems and the Environment

Professional Experience

2013+ Associate Research Scholar, Princeton, Dept of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Steve Pacala. Modeling physiology and forest population structure in respose to drought.

2012+ Lecturer, Princeton, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Kelly Caylor. CEE 474: Design and Construction of Environmental Sensors.

2010 – 2013 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Princeton, Ecology & Evol Biology

Steve Pacala. Modeling physiology and forest population structure in respose to drought.

2010 Postdoctoral Fellow, Carnegie Institution, Dept of Global Ecology

Chris Field. Developed wireless electronics for environmental monitoring.

2006 – 2010 Ph.D. Student, Stanford University

Chris Field and Joe Berry. Remote sensing, land surface modeling, data assimilation.

2005 – 2006 Research Assistant, Carnegie Institution, Stanford, CA

Joe Berry. Global atmospheric transport modeling.

2004 – 2005 Staff Research Associate, UC Davis, Davis, CA

Johan Six. Model agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in California.

2004 Russian-English Translator, World Wildlife Fund, Moscow, Russia

Translated research used in overviews to climate change in Russian national parks.

2003 – 2004 State Department Title VIII FLAS Fellow. Moscow & St Petersburg, Russia

2001 – 2003  Staff Research Associate. Shortandy, Kazakhstan and Davis, CA.

Setup and operated two mobile eddy covariance towers in a very remote location. Land surface modeling of ecosystem photosynthesis and energy balance.


National Science Foundation, Macrosystems $600K 2014-2016 “Extreme events and ecological acclimation: Scaling from cells to ecosystems”

Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Strategic University Research Partnership $100K 2014-2015 “Rapid forest triage by sub-canopy micro air vehicle”

Princeton Grand Challenges $200K 2013-2015 “What trees could learn from Alan Greenspan”

National Science Foundation, Rapid $100K 2012-2014 “Using open-source ecology to examine tree physiological response and mortality across species during the 2012 United States drought”

Princeton Chancellor for Research, $75K 2012 “Sensor Development and Assessment for in-situ, Realtime Drought and Crop Monitoring to Enhance Food Security in Africa”

NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG), $15K 2009 “Dissertation Research: The shadows cast by trees: using allometry, tree-resolving lidar, and ecostem models to inform the global view of forests”

UC Davis Jastro-Shields $5K 2000 “Development of a 137Cs gamma-ray counting facility at Crocker Nuclear Lab”



2012+ Primary Lecturer, CEE474: Design and Construction of Environmental Sensors

Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton. With Kelly Caylor.

2009 Bio164: Biosphere Atmosphere Interactions, Stanford

Lecturer, lab and modeling instructor, with Chris Field and Joe Berry

2008 Bio117: Global Change, Stanford

Lecturer and teaching assistant, with Peter Vitousek and Kevin Arrigo

2007 Bio164: Biosphere Atmosphere Interactions, Stanford

Lecturer, lab and modeling instructor, with Chris Field and Joe Berry

2007 Bio43: Introductory Plant Biology (Teaching assistant)



Princeton Environmental Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship 2010-2013

Carnegie Institution – Dept of Global Ecology Postdoctoral Fellowship 2010

Aldo Leopold Leadership Program Graduate Participant 2009

Stanford Center for Russian Eurasian and Eastern European Studies Travel Grant 2007

NASA Earth Systems Science Fellowship 2005-2008

US State Dept Title VIII FLAS Fellowship 2003-2004

USAID GL-CRSP Full scholarship and research assistantship 1999-2001


Student Mentoring

2013+ Princeton Grand Challenges PI. Trained and supervised 6 students in lab, field, and modeling work addressing drought impacts on forest ecosystems. (Caden Ohlwiler, Bethany Sneathen, Sindiso Nyathi, Elliot Chang, Sean Treacy)

2013 Princeton Laboratory Learning program. Trained and supervised high school rising senior conducting plant physiological research in the field and lab. (Jackie Jones)


2013 Collective Motion 3.0 workshop for Princeton Engineers Without Borders. Use of Arduino and GSM. With Benedetta Piantella.

2012+ Electronics Prototyping and 3D printing. (Ben Siegfried, Jaiye Falusi, Molly O’Connor, Caden Ohlwiler, Sara Guenther, Ghassen Jerfel)

2012 Thesis advisor, Steven Tuozzolo, “Development of an inexpensive and durable disdrometer for use in drought prediction networks”.

2010 RISE Mentor (Stanford summer research experience for minority high school students)

Taught student GIS to study impacts of climate change on plants. (Myra Espinosa)

Field, Laboratory, and Technical Skills

Design and implementation of scientific studies in the biogeosciences

Computer science and coding, using Python, JavaScript, C++, Matlab, Fortran, linux, Arduino/AVR, PHP, HTML, CSS, mySQL, mongoDB, git, Heroku

Statistics including Markov chain Monte Carlo, Kalman Filter, Maximum likelihood methods, standard and multivariate statistics, experimental design

Mathematical models, numerical models, simulation models, Earth system models

Data mining of ecological data, including flux data, forest inventory, floristic collections

Electronics, circuit board design, environmental sensors, data acquisition

Remote sensing, GIS, gridded data of all kinds

Physiological ecology techniques in the field and lab

Isotopic and nutrient analysis of plants, waters and soils


Popular science writing

Wolf, A. (2008) The Big Thaw (cover story). Stanford Magazine. Sept/Oct.


Language Training

2004 International University,  Moscow, Russia

2003 Hertzen Pedagogical University, St Petersburg Russia

as US State Department Title VIII Fellow for Language and Area Studies

2002 Middlebury College, Summer Russian Language School



Makerbot Stories: Taking the Pulse of Climate Change

Center for Data Innovation: 5 Q’s With Ecological Sensing Expert Adam Wolf

5 Q’s With Ecological Sensing Expert Adam Wolf

BBC News, Mark Kinver. “Big animal extinction ‘severed nutrient arteries’. August 12, 2013.

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. “As Siberian permafrost melts, methane seems out.”  Airdate December 30, 2011.

 The Economist. (July 8, 2010). A mammoth effect: Hunting large herbivores may have (slightly) contributed to global warming.

Pala, C. (Oct 28, 2009) Abandoned Soviet farmlands could help offset global warming. Environ. Sci. Technol., Article ASAP

Invited Talks

Princeton, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, October 2013

UCLA, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, February 2013

Bard College, Biology Department, November 2012

Stanford, Lane Center for the American West, 2011

Stanford, Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, 2008

Stanford, Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies, 2008


Synergistic Activities

Reviewer:  Agricultural and Forest Meteorology; Arctic Antarctic and Alpine Research; Biogeosciences;  Climatic Change; Ecology; Geophysical Research Letters; Global Change Biology; Global Ecology and Biogeography; Hydrological Processes; Journal of Geophysical Research; Oecologia; PNAS; Remote Sensing of Environment.

Member: American Geophysical Union, Ecological Society of America, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Meteorological Society

DOE Terrestrial Ecosystem Sciences review panel (2012)

NASA Terrestrial Ecology review panel (2012)

NASA Terrestrial Ecology Program Modeling Working Group (2010 – ongoing)

Session chair (with Kelly Caylor and Justin Sheffield) Postmortem: Drought 2012 (AGU 2013)

Session chair (with Bill Anderegg) B61: Plant Demography and the Carbon Cycle (AGU 2011)

Session chair (with Maoyi Huang) H64: Ecosystem Resilience to Changing Climate Patterns: The Role of Hydrology (AGU 2008)

Session chair (with Maoyi Huang) B10: Ecohydrology and Climate Change (AGU 2007)

Wolf, A. and E.A. Laca (2003) Carbon Credits in Kazakhstan. Global Livestock CRSP brochure for distribution to policy makers in Kazakhstan (In Russian).


Specialized Education and Short Courses

2010 NSF/OTS Workshop, La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica

“Expanding the frontier in tropical ecology through embedded sensors”

2009 Global Sustainability Workshop, Santa Fe Institute

2008 Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environment, Paris.

Visiting Scientist

2007 Far East Science Station, Cherskii, Russia.

Visiting Scientist

2006 Norwegian Institute for Atmospheric Research, Kjeller, Norway.

Lagrangian atmospheric transport modeling.

2006 NCAR/MSRI graduate seminar Data Assimilation for the Carbon Cycle