Jimmy Li - Faculty & Adjuncts

Jimmy Li, PhD

Jimmy Li, PhD
Associate Professor of Geosciences
College of Engineering & Natural Sciences
918-631-3013 Website Keplinger Hall Room L107


PhD – University of Virginia PhD – The University of Virginia MS – University of Wyoming MS – The University of Wyoming BS – Jilin University, China BS – Jilin University


I am a broadly trained geoscientist with backgrounds in geology, terrestrial ecology, soil science, and chemistry. My research focuses on documenting and understanding surface biogeochemical processes in terrestrial environment, spanning from temperate grassland to arid and semiarid deserts. I combine physical, chemical, and biological methods and maintain strong linkages with the geological and atmospheric sciences. I conduct field and laboratory research and employ remote sensing and spatial analysis to understand processes, patterns, and their interactions across various scales.

Research Interests

My research focuses on documenting and understanding the Earth surface processes under the stresses of land use/land cover change, grazing, fire, management, and climatic change in arid and semiarid western United States. Themes that I emphasize in my research include eco-geomorphology, carbon, nitrogen and soil nutrients dynamics, and the health (human and environment) impacts of atmospheric dust.

Teaching Interests

I teach a number of undergraduate and graduate level courses in geosciences that include Hydrogeology, Geomorphology, Environmental Geochemistry, Introduction to GIS, and a block III course of Energy, environment and climate change.


Journal Articles

  • Van Pelt , R., J. Tatarko, T. Gill, C. Chang, J. Li, I. Eibedingil, and M. Mendez. Dust Emission Source Characterization for Visibility Hazard Assessment on Lordsburg Playa in Southwestern New Mexico, USA. Vol. 7, Geoenvironmental Disasters, 2020.
  • Gao , G., D. Tuo, X. Han, L. Jiao, J. Li, and B. Fu. Effects of Land-Use Patterns on Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Variations Along Revegetated Hillslopes in the Chinese Loess Plateau. Vol. 746, Science of the Total Environment, 2020.
  • Cao , Q., J. Li, H. Xiao, Y. Cao, Z. Xin, B. Yang, T. Liu, and M. Yuan. Sap Flow of Amorpha Fruticosa: Implications of Water Use Strategy in a Semiarid System With Secondary Salinization. Vol. 10, Scientific Reports, 2020.
  • Jiao , S., J. Li, Y. Li, Z. Xu, B. Kong, Y. Li, and Y. Shen. Variation of Soil Organic Carbon and Physical Properties in Relation to Land Uses in the Yellow River Delta, China. Vol. 10, Scientific Reports, 2020.
  • Ravi , S., J. Li, Z. Meng, J. Zhang, and S. Mohanty. Generation, Resuspension, and Transport of Particulate Matter From Biochar-Amended Soils: A Potential Health Risk. Vol. 4, GeoHealth, 2020.
  • Ju , X., W. Li, L. He, J. Li, L. Han, and J. Mao. Ecological Redline Policy May Significantly Alter Urban Expansion and Affect Surface Runoff in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Megaregion of China. Vol. 15, Environmental Research Letters, 2020.
  • Li , J., and J. McDonald-Gillespie. Airborne Lead (Pb) From Abandoned Mine Waste in Northeastern Oklahoma, USA. Vol. 4, GeoHealth, 2020.
  • Qi , Y., W. Wei, J. Li, C. Chen, and Y. Huang. Effects of Terracing on Root Distribution of Pinus Tabulaeformis Carr. Forest and Soil Properties in the Loess Plateau of China. Vol. 721, Science of the Total Environment, 2020.
  • Wang , D., G. Gao, J. Li, C. Yuan, Y. Lü, and B. Fu. Sap Flow Dynamics of Xerophytic Shrubs Differ Significantly Among Rainfall Categories in the Loess Plateau of China. Vol. 585, Journal of Hydrology, 2020.
  • Li , Y., J. Li, S. Jiao, Y. Li, Z. Xu, and B. Kong. Ecosystem-Scale Carbon Allocation Among Different Land Uses: Implications for Carbon Stocks in the Yellow River Delta. Vol. 11, Ecosphere, 2020.
  • Feng , S., L. Chen, R. Sun, Z. Feng, J. Li, M. Khan, and Y. Jing. The Distribution and Accessibility of Urban Parks in Beijing, China: Implications of Social Equity. Vol. 16, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2019.
  • Ma , R., J. Li, Y. Ma, L. Shan, X. Li, and L. Wei. A Wind Tunnel Study of the Airflow Field and Shelter Efficiency of Mixed Windbreaks. Vol. 41, Aeolian Research, 2019.
  • Gholami , H., M. Dolat Kordestani, J. Li, M. Telfer, and A. Fathabadi. Diverse Sources of Aeolian Sediment Revealed in an Arid Landscape in Southeastern Iran Using a Modified Bayesian Un-Mixing Model. Vol. 41, Aeolian Research, 2019.
  • Jiao , S., J. Li, Y. Li, J. Jia, and Z. Xu. Soil C, N, and P Distribution As Affected by Plant Communities in the Yellow River Delta, China. Vol. 14, PLoS ONE, 2019.
  • Liu , S., Y. Dong, Y. Sun, J. Li, Y. An, and F. Shi. Modelling the Spatial Pattern of Biodiversity Utilizing the High-Resolution Tree Cover Data at Large Scale: Case Study in Yunnan Province, Southwest China. Vol. 134, Ecological Engineering, 2019, pp. 1-8.
  • Wang , G., J. Li, and S. Ravi. A Combined Grazing and Fire Management May Reverse Woody Shrub Encroachment in Desert Grasslands. Vol. 34, Landscape Ecology, 2019, pp. 2017-31.
  • Xiao L*, Li J et al. A method to evaluate pore structures of fractured tight sandstone reservoirs using borehole electrical image logging, AAPG Bulletin, In press, 2019

  • Xiao L*, Li J et al., A method to determine nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) T2cutoff based on normal distribution simulation in tight sandstone reservoirs, Fuel, 225, 472-482, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2018.03.178, 2018.

  • Li J, Kandakji T, Lee JA, Tatarko JT, Blackwell J*, Gill TE, and Collins J. Blowing dust and highway safety in the southwestern United States: Characteristics of dust emission “hotspots” and management implications. Science of the Total Environment, 621, 1023-1032, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.10.124, 2018.

  • Gonzales HB, Ravi S, Li J, Sankey JB. Ecohydrological implications of aeolian sediment trapping by sparse vegetation in drylands, Ecohydrology, DOI: 10.1002/eco.1986, 2018.

  • Xiao L*, Mao Z, Li J et al., Effect of hydrocarbon on evaluating formation pore structure using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) logging. Fuel, 216, 199–207, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2017.12.020, 2018.

  • Wang G*, Li J et al. Fire changes the spatial distribution and sources of soil organic carbon in a grassland-shrubland transition zone, Plant and Soil, 10.1007/s11104-018-3895-z, 2018.

  • Interactions among hydrological-aeolian processes and vegetation determine grain-size distribution of sediments in a coppice dune (nebkha) system. Journal of Arid Environments, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2018.03.011, 2018.

  • Ravi S, Gonzales HB, Buynevich LV, Li J, Sankey JB, Dukes D, Wang G*. On the development of a magnetic susceptibility-based tracer for aeolian sediment transport research, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, DOI: 10.1002/esp.4536, 2018.

  • Wang G*, Li J, Ravi S, Dukes D, Gonzales HB, and Sankey JB. Post-fire redistribution of soil carbon and nitrogen at a grassland-shrubland ecotone. Ecosystems, DOI: 10.1007/s10021-018-0260-2, 2018.

  • Dukes D, Gonzales HB, Ravi S, Grandstaff DE, Van Pelt RS, Li J, Wang G*, and Sankey JB. Quantifying Post-Fire Aeolian Sediment Transport Using Rare Earth Element Tracers. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, 123(1), 288-299, DOI: 10.1002/2017JG004284, 2018.

  • Liu S, Yin Y, Li J et al. Using landscape connectivity to identify key habitats for Asian elephants in southwestern China. Landscape and Urban Planning, 171, 80-87, DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2017.09.017, 2018.

  • Wang G*, Li J et al. Aeolian sediment tracers: Approaches, applications, and challenges. Earth-Science Reviews, DOI: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2017.05.001, 2017.

  • Liu D, Xiao L*, Li J et al., Method of predicting tight gas deliverability from conventional well logging data based on experimental simulation. Arabian Journal of Science and Engineering, DOI: 10.1007/s13369-017-2916-1, 2017.

  • Xiao L*, Liu D, Li J et al. The applicability analysis of models for permeability prediction using mercury injection capillary pressure (MICP) data. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, DOI: 10.1016/j.petrol.2017.06.042, 2017.

  • Li J, Gilhooly WP, Okin GS, and Blackwell J*. Abiotic processes are insufficient for fertile island development: A 10-year artificial shrub experiment in a desert grassland. Geophysical Research Letters, 44, DOI: 10.1002/2016GL072068, 2017.

  • Liu S, Yin Y, Liu X, Cheng F, Yang J, Li J, Dong S, and Zhu A. Ecosystem services and landscape change associated with plantation expansion in a tropical rainforest region of southwest China. Ecological Modelling, 353, 129-138, 2016, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2016.03.009.

  • Ravi S, Sharratt BS, Li J et al. Particulate matter emissions from biochar-amended soils: A tradeoff to the negative emission potential. Scientific Reports, DOI: 10.1038/srep35984, 2016.

  • Liu S, Su X, Dong S, Chen F, Zhao H, Wu X, Zhang X and Li J. Modeling aboveground biomass of an alpine dessert grassland with SPOT-VGT NDVI. GIScience and Remote Sensing, 2015, DOI: 10.1080/15481603.2015.1080143

  • Li J, Flagg C, Okin GS, Painter TH, Dintwe K, Belnap J. On the prediction of threshold friction velocity of wind erosion using soil reflectance spectroscopy. Aeolian Research, 2015, 10.1016/j.aeolian.2015.10.001.

  • Lü Y, Zhang L, Feng X, Zeng Y, Fu B, Yao X, Li J and Wu B. Recent ecological transitions in China: greening, browning, and influential factors. Scientific Reports, 2015, 5:8732, DOI:10.1038/srep08732

  • Li J, Okin GS, Tatarko J, Webb NP, Herrick JE. Consistency of wind erosion assessments across land use and land cover types: A critical analysis. Aeolian Research, 2014, doi:10.1016/j/aeolia.2014.04.007.

  • Vest KR, Elmore AJ, Kaste JM, Okin GS, Li J. Estimating total horizontal flux within shrub-invaded groundwater dependent meadows using empirical and mechanistic models. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface, 2011JF002297, accepted.

  • Li J, Okin GS, Herrick JE, Belnap J, Miller ME, Vest K, and Draut AE. Evaluation of a new model of aeolian transport in the presence of vegetation, Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface, 2013, 118, doi: 10.1002/jgrf.20040.

  • Li J, Okin GS, Skiles SM, and Painter TH. Relating variation of dust deposition on snow to bare soil dynamics in the western United States, Environmental Research Letters, 2013 (8) 044054, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/4/044054.

  • Alvarez LJ, Epstein HE, Li J, Okin, GS. Aeolian process effects on vegetation communities in an arid grassland ecosystem. 1.Ecology and Evolution 2(4), (2012), pp. 809-821.

  • Li J, Anderson T, Walter TM. Landscape scale variation in nitrous oxide flux along a typical Northeastern US topographic gradient in the early summer. Water, Air & Soil Pollution, 2012, doi: 10.1007/s11270-011-0965-8.

  • Ravi S, D’Odorico P, Goudie A, Okin GS, Li J, Breshears D, Field J, Swap R, Thomas A, Zobeck T. Aeolian Processes and the biosphere. Review of Geophysics, 2011, 49, RG3001, doi:10.1029/2010RG000328.

  • Alvarez LJ, Epstein HE, Li J, Okin, GS. Spatial patterns of grasses and shrubs in an arid grassland environment. Ecosphere, 2011, doi:10.1890/ES11-00104.1.

  • Li J, Okin GS, Herrick JE, Belnap J, Munson SM, and Miller ME. A simple method to estimate threshold friction velocity of wind erosion in the field. Geophysical Research Letters, 2010, doi:10.1029/2010GL043245.

  • Li J, Okin GS, Epstein HE. Effects of enhanced wind erosion on surface soil texture and characteristics of windblown sediments. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, 2009, doi:10.1029/2008JG000903.

  • Li J, Okin GS, Alvarez L, Epstein H. Effects of wind erosion on the spatial heterogeneity of soil nutrients in two desert grassland communities. Biogeochemistry, 2008, 88:73-88.

  • Li J, Okin GS, Alvarez L, Epstein H. Sediment deposition and soil nutrient heterogeneity in two desert grassland ecosystems, southern New Mexico. Plant and Soil, 2008, doi: 10.1007/s11104-008-9850-7.

  • Li J, Okin GS, Alvarez L, Epstein H. Quantitative effects of vegetation cover on wind erosion and soil nutrient loss in a desert grassland of southern New Mexico, USA. Biogeochemistry, 2007, 85:317-332.

  • Guo X, Fu B, Chen L, Ma K, Li J. Land use effects on soil properties in a hilly area, Northern China. Ekológia (Bratislava), 2004, 23 (1): 1-13.

  • Zhang S, Chen L, Fu B, Li J. The risk assessment of non-point pollution of phosphorus from agricultural lands: A case study of Yuqiao Reservoir watershed. Quaternary Research, 2003, 23 (3):262-269.

  • Li J, Chen L, Guo X, Fu B. Temporal and spatial characteristics of non-point source N in surface water of Yuqiao Reservoir Basin. Scientia Geographica Sincia, 2002, 22(2): 238-242.

  • Guo X, Fu B, Chen L, Ma K, Li J. Effects of land use on soil quality in a hill area—-A case study in Zunhua County, Hebei Province. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2001, 56 (4): 447-455.

  • Fu B, Guo X, Chen L, Ma K, Li J. Land use changes and soil nutrient changes: a case study in Zunhua County, Hebei Province. Acta Ecological Sinica, 2001, (21) 6: 926-931.

  • Fu B, Liu G, Chen L, Ma K, Li J. Scheme of ecological regionalization in China. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 2001, 21(1): 1-6.

  • Fu B, Guo X, Chen L, Ma K, Li J. Soil nutrients changes due to land-use changes in northern China–a case study in Zunhua County, Hebei Province. Soil Use and Management, 2001, 17: 294-296.

  • Chen L, Li J, Fu B. Synthetic assessment and cluster analysis for eco-environment in Three-gorge Reservoir areas. Rural Eco-Environment, 2001, 15 (4): 218-224.

  • Li J, Chen L, Guo X, Fu B. Effects of land use structure on non-point source pollution. China Environmental Sciences, 2000, 20 (6): 506-510.

  • Chen L, Li J, Guo X, Fu B. Temporal and spatial characteristics of surface water quality in Jiyun River. Environmental Sciences, 2000, 21 (6): 61-64.

  • Guo X, Fu B, Chen L, Ma K, Li J. The spatio-temporal variability of soil nutrients in Zunhua plain of Hebei Province: semivariogram and Kriging Analysis. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2000, 55(5): 555-566.

Book Chapters

  • Li J and Okin GS. Carbon and nitrogen dynamics with enhanced wind erosion-model evaluation and prediction. In: Fernandez-Bernal A. and Alberto De La Rosa M (eds.). Arid Environments and Wind Erosion. 2009. ISBN: 978-1-60692-411-2, Nova Science Publishers, Inc., New York.


  • Epstein HE, Okin GS, Li J, Alvarez LJ. Wind erosion and ecosystem consequences following vegetation removal in a Chihuahuan Desert grassland. Global Land Project News, 2009 (5):3-4

Courses Taught

  • Environmental Geochemistry
  • Geomorphology
  • Undergraduate Research
  • Introduction to Geographic Information Systems Lab
  • Geology Report
  • Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
  • Energy, Environment and Climate Change
  • Research and Dissertation
  • Hydrogeology
  • Independent Study

Professional Affiliations

  • International Associate for Landscape Ecology
  • American Association of Geographers
  • American Geophysical Union