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. Dong, T., Shang, J., Liu, J., Qian, B., Jing, Q., Ma, B., Huffman, T., Geng, X., Sow, A., Shi, Y., Canisius, F., Jiao, X., Kovacs, J.M., Walters, D., Cable, J., Wilson, J. (2019). Using RapidEye imagery to identify within-field variability of crop growth and yield in Ontario, Canada. Precision Agriculture, [online] 20(6), 1231-1250. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11119-019-09646-w

    2019 - View publication details

  2. Ma, B.L. 2019. Crop rotation: An effective system to improve crop production efficiency and minimize C footprints. Invited keynote speaker presentation at the 6th International Symposium on Environment, Natural Resources and Ecological Conservation (ISENREC2019). Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, November 24-30.

    2019 - View publication details

  3. Dong, T., Shang, J., Chen, J.M., Liu, J., Qian, B., Ma, B., Morrison, M.J., Zhang, C., Liu, Y., Shi, Y., Pan, H., Zhou, G. (2019). Assessment of portable chlorophyll meters for measuring crop leaf chlorophyll concentration. Remote Sensing, [online] 11(22), http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/rs11222706

    2019 - View publication details

  4. Wu, W., Ma, B.L., Fan, J.J., Sun, M., Yi, Y., Guo, W.S., Voldeng, H.D. (2019). Management of nitrogen fertilization to balance reducing lodging risk and increasing yield and protein content in spring wheat. Field Crops Research, [online] 241 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2019.107584

    2019 - View publication details

  5. Ma, B.L., Zheng, Z., Whalen, J.K., Caldwell, C., Vanasse, A., Pageau, D., Scott, P., Earl, H., Smith, D.L. (2019). Uptake and nutrient balance of nitrogen, sulfur, and boron for optimal canola production in eastern Canada. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, [online] 182(2), 252-264. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jpln.201700615

    2019 - View publication details

  6. Dong, T., Liu, J., Shang, J., Qian, B., Ma, B., Kovacs, J.M., Walters, D., Jiao, X., Geng, X., Shi, Y. (2019). Assessment of red-edge vegetation indices for crop leaf area index estimation. Remote Sensing of Environment, [online] 222 133-143. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2018.12.032

    2019 - View publication details

  7. Wu, W., Ma, B.L. (2019). Erect–leaf posture promotes lodging resistance in oat plants under high plant population. European Journal of Agronomy, [online] 103 175-187. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eja.2018.12.010

    2019 - View publication details

  8. Biswas, D.K., Ma, B.L., Morrison, M.J. (2019). Changes in leaf nitrogen and phosphorus content, photosynthesis, respiration, growth, and resource use efficiency of a rapeseed cultivar as affected by drought and high temperatures. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, [online] 99(4), 488-498. http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjps-2018-0023

    2019 - View publication details

  9. Song, X., Zhou, G., Ma, B.L., Wu, W., Ahmad, I., Zhu, G., Yan, W., Jiao, X. (2019). Nitrogen application improved photosynthetic productivity, chlorophyll fluorescence, yield and yield components of two oat genotypes under saline conditions. Agronomy, [online] 9(3), http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9030115

    2019 - View publication details

  10. Bai, J., Yan, W., Wang, Y., Yin, Q., Liu, J., Wight, C., Ma, B. (2018). Screening oat genotypes for tolerance to salinity and alkalinity. Frontiers in Plant Science, [online] 9 http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2018.01302

    2018 - View publication details

  11. Ma, B.L., Zheng, Z. (2018). Nutrient uptake of iron, zinc, magnesium, and copper in transgenic maize (Zea mays) as affected by rotation systems and N application rates. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, [online] 112(1), 27-43. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10705-018-9925-7

    2018 - View publication details

  12. Ma, B.L. 2018. Improving nitrogen use efficiency through balanced N and S supply for optimal canola production. Oral presentation at the 21st World Congress of Soil Science. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 12-17

    2018 - View publication details

  13. Wu, W., B.L. Ma, J.K. Whalen. 2018. Root growth and root system architecture: Potential for enhancing rapeseed tolerance to heat stress in a changing climate. Adv. Agron. 151: 87-151.

    2018 - View publication details

  14. 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

    2018 - View publication details

  15. Ma, B.L., and W. Wu. 2018. A new method for assessing plant lodging and canola root system architecture. Oral presentation at the 14th International Conference on Precision Agriculture. Montreal, QC, Jun 24-27.

    2018 - View publication details

  16. Canisius, F., Shang, J., Liu, J., Huang, X., Ma, B., Jiao, X., Geng, X., Kovacs, J.M., Walters, D. (2018). Tracking crop phenological development using multi-temporal polarimetric Radarsat-2 data. Remote Sensing of Environment, [online] 210 508-518. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2017.07.031

    2018 - View publication details

  17. Wu, W., Ma, B.L. (2018). Assessment of canola crop lodging under elevated temperatures for adaptation to climate change. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, [online] 248 329-338. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agrformet.2017.09.017

    2018 - View publication details

  18. Li, P.F., Ma, B.L., Xiong, Y.C. (2018). Modern hexaploid wheat differs from diploid and tetraploid ancestors in the importance of stress tolerance versus stress avoidance. Crop & Pasture Science, [online] 69(3), 265-277. http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/CP17224

    2018 - View publication details

  19. Li, P., Mo, F., Li, D., Ma, B.L., Yan, W., Xiong, Y. (2018). Exploring agronomic strategies to improve oat productivity and control weeds: Leaf type, row spacing, and planting density. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, [online] 98(5), 1084-1093. http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjps-2017-0354

    2018 - View publication details

  20. 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. (in press).

    2017 - View publication details

Research facility

960 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1A 0C6


Adjunct Professor, McGill University

Adjunct Professor, Nipissing University