Research Interests

My dissertation research involves addressing the impacts of predicted climate changes on phytoplankton assemblage composition and particulate material export in the ocean using both satellite remote sensing and numerical ecosystem modeling approaches.  I am particularly interested in understanding the role that small-scale physical dynamics play on large-scale climate-ecosystem interactions and global carbon cycles.  I am a fan of oceanographic technologies, and a pilot of both "Webb gliders" and "seagliders" which are autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) equipped with hydrological and optical sensors. These gliders provide continuous measurements of key attributes in the ocean at high temporal and spatial resolutions.

Animation linked from USCLAB website:

Animation from

Global primary production estimated from satellite data. Animation linked from:

My links:

The Levine Lab Home Page

The Jones Lab Home Page

The Jones Lab Wordpress: glider data visualization


Integrative Observational Platforms (IOP) group: Focuses on observational investigations of ocean physics at a variety of spatial and temporal scales (Ocean Physics Department, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington).

Interdisciplinary Oceanography Group (IOG): Affiliated with the Institute for Computational Earth System Science (ICESS) based at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Maine In-situ Sound & Color Lab: Lab Specializes in the interpretation of optical and acoustical properties of aquatic environments (University of Maine).

Coastal Observing Research & Development Center: Focuses on the development of new technologies and their application for basic and applied sciences.

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) - OurOcean Portal: Access to ocean science data, data assimilation models, data and model visualization.

Naval Research Laboratory - Ocean Optics: Conducts basic and applied research to understand and predict the dynamical evolution of ocean phenomena and processes (specifically related to ocean optics).

The Ocean Physics Laboratory (OPL): Part of the Department of Geography at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Orange County Sanitation District: Wastewater treatment.

The Robotic Embedded Systems Laboratory (RESL): Develops tools & techniques to design and understand large-scale, distributed, robotic systems (USC).

Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS): Brings together coastal observations in the Southern California Bight to provide information necessary to address issues varying from climate change to national security.

Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP): A research institute focused on the coastal ecosystems of Southern California from watersheds to ocean.

USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies: Supports marine and environmental science & education at USC.

  • Xiao Liu
  • University of Southern California
  • 3616 Trousdale Parkway, AHF B30
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089