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. 

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

  1. Ma, B.L. 2023. Crop Rotation: An Effective System to Improve Crop Production Efficiency and Minimize C footprints. Invited oral presentation at the International Conference on Cropping System for Sustainability. National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. September 21

    2023 - View publication details

  2. Liu, K., and B.L. Ma. 2023. Towards a sustainable food production system: The role of pulse in sustainable food supply chain. Invited oral presentation at the 2023 Canada-Taiwan Bilateral Conference on ESG and Sustainable Development in the Food Industry Supply Chain. National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. September 22

    2023 - View publication details

  3. Ma, B.L., A. Herath, and D.L. Smith. 2023. Critical sulfur concentrations for canola production. Poster presentation at the CSA-CPS-CSHS Tri-Society meeting. Ottawa, ON. June 17-21

    2023 - View publication details

  4. Pilkington, K., D. Hooker, B.L. Ma, and J. Nasielski. 2023. The effect of plant growth regulators on winter wheat yield, lodging and biomechanics – Linking plant-level traits to crop-level outcomes. Oral presentation at the CSA-CPS-CSHS Tri-Society meeting. Ottawa, ON. June 17-21

    2023 - View publication details

  5. Ma, B.L., and W. Wu. 2023. Canola roots and trade-offs of increasing yield and lodging resistance. Poster presentation at 10th International Symposium on Root Development. Ghent, Belgium. May 15-18

    2023 - View publication details

  6. Ma, B.L. 2022. Nitrogen management, use efficiency and seed yield of canola hybrids in diverse Canadian production ecosystems. Oral presentation at the CSA-CWSS Annual Meeting. Halifax, NS. Nov. 14-18.

    2022 - View publication details

  7. Wen, G., and B.L. Ma. 2022. Early detection of the health status of abiotic-stressed crops using electrical signals. Oral presentation at the CSA-CWSS Annual Meeting. Halifax, NS. Nov. 14-18.

    2022 - View publication details

  8. Wen, G., and B.L. Ma. 2022. Machine learning-based nitrogen recommendation on Canola Crops. Oral presentation at the ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting. Baltimore, MD. Nov. 6-9, 2022.

    2022 - View publication details

  9. Ma, B.L., and D. L. Smith. 2022. Interactive effect of nitrogen and sulfur supply on yield and related traits of canola. Oral presentation at the International Plant Sulfur Workshop. Western University, London, ON, Canada. July 15-18, 2022

    2022 - View publication details

  10. Wen, G., and B.L. Ma. 2021. Assessing canola nitrogen management strategies with machine learning-based modelling approach. Oral presentation at the Canadian Phytopathological Society- The Canadian Society of Agronomy- Canadian Society for Horticultural Science Tri-Society Virtual Conference. Jul. 5-9

    2021 - View publication details

  11. Guo, X., Nan, Y., He, H., Ma, B.L., McLaughlin, N.B., Wu, X., Chen, B., Gao, Y. (2021). Post-flowering nitrogen uptake leads to the genotypic variation in seed nitrogen accumulation of oilseed rape. Plant and Soil, [online] 461(1-2), 281-294. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11104-020-04815-7

    2021 - View publication details

  12. Li, P., Ma, B., Palta, J.A., Ding, T., Cheng, Z., Lv, G., Xiong, Y. (2021). Wheat breeding highlights drought tolerance while ignores the advantages of drought avoidance: A meta-analysis. European Journal of Agronomy, [online] 122 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eja.2020.126196

    2021 - View publication details

  13. Ma, B.L. 2020. A nutrient balance approach to growing canola in Eastern Canada. Canala FactSheets. Eastern Canada Oilseed Development Alliance (ECODA). Charlottetown, PEI Canada. https://www.ecodainc.ca/fertility/

    2020 - View publication details

  14. Ma, B.L., Zheng, Z.M., de Silva, N., Whalen, J.K., Pageau, D., Vanasse, A., Caldwell, C., Earl, H., Smith, D.L. (2020). Graphical analysis of nitrogen and sulfur supply on yield and related traits of canola in eastern Canada. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, [online] 118(3), 293-309. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10705-020-10097-3

    2020 - View publication details

  15. Xiong, L., Liang, C., Ma, B., Shah, F., Wu, W. (2020). Carbon footprint and yield performance assessment under plastic film mulching for winter wheat production. Journal of Cleaner Production, [online] 270 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.122468

    2020 - View publication details

  16. Wu, W., Shah, F., Duncan, R.W., Ma, B.L. (2020). Grain yield, root growth habit and lodging of eight oilseed rape genotypes in response to a short period of heat stress during flowering. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, [online] 287 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agrformet.2020.107954

    2020 - View publication details

  17. Ma, B., Ma, B.L., McLaughlin, N.B., Mi, J., Yang, Y., Liu, J. (2020). Exploring soil amendment strategies with polyacrylamide to improve soil health and oat productivity in a dryland farming ecosystem: One-time versus repeated annual application. Land Degradation & Development, [online] 31(9), 1176-1192. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ldr.3482

    2020 - View publication details

  18. Biswas, D.K., Ma, B.L., Xu, H., Li, Y., Jiang, G. (2020). Lutein-mediated photoprotection of photosynthetic machinery in Arabidopsis thaliana exposed to chronic low ultraviolet-B radiation. Journal of Plant Physiology, [online] 248 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jplph.2020.153160

    2020 - View publication details

  19. Ma, B., Zheng, Z.M. (2020). Canopy reflectance, stalk sugar and juice yields in specialty corn hybrids as affected by nitrogen management strategies. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, [online] 100(3), 1080-1091. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.10113

    2020 - View publication details

  20. Wang, Z., Ma, B.L., Yu, X., Gao, J., Sun, J., Su, Z., Yu, S. (2019). Physiological Basis of Heterosis for Nitrogen Use Efficiency of Maize. Scientific Reports, [online] 9(1), http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-54864-x

    2019 - View publication details

Research facility

960 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1A 0C6


Adjunct Professor, McGill University

Adjunct Professor, Nipissing University