Dr. Bao-Luo Ma

Image Bao-Luo Ma
Research Scientist

Dr. Ma conducts nationally and internationally recognized research that supports the STB science priorities of identifying plant traits for cultivar improvement, and designing best management strategies and crop production systems that improve agriculture productivity, sustainability and profitability.

Specifically, his research projects are designed to understand crop plant reactions to abiotic stresses as well as to develop risk assessment technologies for different environment-induced stresses in crop stand establishment, growth, development, and yield formation under nutrient-limited (deficiency or over-fertilization), saline, drought, cold, crowded or other adverse conditions.  The overall objectives are identification, understanding, and mitigation of risks associated with abiotic stresses impacting cropping systems. 

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Current research and/or projects

Improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency and Soil Sustainability in Canola Production across Canada

Breeding, Genomics, and Agronomy Research to Improve Oat Yield and Quality

Investigation of Critical Tissue Sulfur Concentration and Nitrogen to Sulfur Ratio for Optimizing Canola Production in Eastern Canada

Research and/or project statements

Developing crop-based indicators for detecting abiotic stresses and sensing crop nutrient requirements

Systematic assessment of nutrient cycling in agroecosystems

Understanding the physiological basis for the growth, development and yield of oats and other field crops

Mitigating risks of abiotic stresses impacting crop production systems

Professional activities / interests

Improving nutrient use efficiency of grain cereal and oilseed crops

Developing best management practices

Advancing knowledge and developing technologies for more efficient use of plant nutrients and achieve concurrent improvements in NUE, crop yields, and producers' profit as well as sustaining the environment across different ecoregions in Canada

Education and awards

Ph.D. Agronomy, McGill University, 1991

Fellow, American Society of Agronomy, 2007

Fellow, Canadian Society of Agronomy, 2011

Fellow of Crop Science Society of America, 2012


International experience and/or work

Served two 3-year terms as the Technical Editor of Crop Science journal

Served a 3-year term as a Senior Associate Editor of Agronomy Journal

Co-supervised MSc. and PhD students, supervised post-doctoral fellows and international professors / researchers

Served as external examiner for PhD theses of Canadian and international universities

Key publications

For a complete list of publications, please visit: AAFC Online

Wu, W., and B.L. Ma*. 2019. Erect-leaf posture promotes lodging resistance in oat plants under high plant population. Eur. J. Agron. 103: 175-187.

Ma, B.L., and Z.M. Zheng. 2018. Nutrient uptake of iron, zinc, magnesium, and copper in transgenic maize (Zea mays) as affected by rotation systems and N application rates. Nutr. Cycl. Agroecosyst. 112: 27-43.

Li, P.F., B.L. Ma*, and Y.C. Xiong. 2018. Modern hexaploid wheat differs from diploid and tetraploid ancestors in the importance of stress tolerance vs. stress avoidance. Crop Pasture Sci. 69: 265-277.

Wu, W., and B.L. Ma*. 2018. Assessment of canola crop lodging under elevated temperatures for adaptation to climate change. Agric. Forest Meteorol. 248: 329-338.

Wu, W., B.L. Ma*, J.K. Whalen. 2018. Enhancing rapeseed tolerance to heat and drought stresses in a changing climate: Perspectives for stress adaptation from root system architecture. Adv. Agron. 151: 87-151.

Wu, W., R.W. Duncan, and B.L. Ma*. 2017. Quantification of canola root morphological traits under heat and drought stresses with electrical measurements. Plant Soil 415: 229-244.

Ma, B.L., Z.M. Zheng, and M.J. Morrison. 2017. Does increasing plant population density alter sugar yield in high stalk-sugar corn hybrids? Crop Pasture Sci. 68: 1-10.

Li, P.F., B.L. Ma*, Y.C. Xiong, and W.Y. Zhang. 2017. Morphological and physiological responses of different wheat genotypes to chilling stress: A cue to explain yield loss. J. Sci. Food Agric. 97: 4036-4045.

Ma, B.L., Z.M. Zheng, D. Pageau, C. Vera, J. Fregeau-Reid, A. Xue, and W. Yan. 2017. Nitrogen and phosphorus uptake, yield and agronomic traits of oat cultivars as affected by fertilizer N rates under diverse environments. Nutr. Cycl. Agroecosyst. 108: 245-265.

Ma, B.L., and Z.G. Wang. 2017. Crop rotation: A sustainable system for maize production. p.181-202. In Walson, D. (ed.) Achieving Sustainable Maize Cultivation. Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing Ltd., Swanston, Cambridge, UK.

Wu, W., and B.L. Ma*. 2016. A new method for assessing plant lodging and the impact of management options on lodging in canola crop production. Scientific Reports 6: 31890.

Ma, B.L., and Z.M. Zheng. 2016. Relationship between plant nitrogen and phosphorus accumulations in a canola crop as affected by nitrogen management under ample phosphorus supply conditions. Can. J. Plant Sci. 96: 853-866. 

Ma, B.L., H. Zhao, Z.M. Zheng, C. Caldwell, A. Mills, H. Earl, A. Vanasse, P. Scott, and D.L. Smith. 2016. Optimizing seeding dates and rates for canola production in the humid eastern Canadian agroecosystems. Agron. J. 108:1869-1879.

Ma, B.L., Z.M. Zheng, M.J. Morrison, and E.G. Gregorich. 2016. Nitrogen and phosphorus nutrition and stoichiometry in the response of maize to various N rates under different rotation systems. Nutr. Cycl. Agroecosyst. 104:93-105.

Ma, B.L., and D.K. Biswas. 2016. Field-level comparison of nitrogen rates and application methods on maize yield, grain quality and nitrogen use efficiency in a humid environment. J. Plant Nutr. 39: 727-741.

Ma, B.L., and A.W. Herath. 2016. Timing and rates of nitrogen fertilizer application on seed yield, quality and nitrogen-use efficiency of canola. 

Ma, B.L. 2016. (Editor) Crop Rotations: Farming Practices, Monitoring and Environmental Benefits. Nova Science Publisher, Inc., New York, N.Y. pp.213.



Adjunct Professor, McGill University

Adjunct Professor, Nipissing University