My research broadly examines the impacts of environmental change on agricultural production, and strategies that farmers may adopt to reduce negative impacts. I do this by combining remote sensing and geospatial analyses with household-level and census datasets to examine farmer decision-making and behavior across large spatial and temporal scales. To date my work has focused on the impacts of weather variability and groundwater depletion on agricultural production in India, and whether farmers are able to adapt their cropping practices to mitigate these impacts.

Professional Education

  • Bachelor of Arts, Princeton University (2007)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Columbia University (2014)

Stanford Advisors

Journal Articles

  • Sensitivity of crop cover to climate variability: Insights from two Indian agro-ecoregions JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT Mondal, P., Jain, M., DeFries, R. S., Galford, G. L., Small, C. 2015; 148
  • Researching farmer behaviour in climate change adaptation and sustainable agriculture: Lessons learned from five case studies JOURNAL OF RURAL STUDIES Feola, G., Lerner, A. M., Jain, M., Montefrio, M. F., Nicholas, K. A. 2015; 39: 74-84
  • Understanding the causes and consequences of differential decision-making in adaptation research: Adapting to a delayed monsoon onset in Gujarat, India GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE-HUMAN AND POLICY DIMENSIONS Jain, M., Naeem, S., Orlove, B., Modi, V., DeFries, R. S. 2015; 31: 98-109
  • Winter crop sensitivity to inter-annual climate variability in central India CLIMATIC CHANGE Mondal, P., Jain, M., Robertson, A. W., Galford, G. L., Small, C., DeFries, R. S. 2014; 126 (1-2): 61-76
  • Smallholder farmer cropping decisions related to climate variability across multiple regions GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE-HUMAN AND POLICY DIMENSIONS Wood, S. A., Jina, A. S., Jain, M., Kristjanson, P., DeFries, R. S. 2014; 25: 163-172
  • Perceptional and Socio-Demographic Factors Associated with Household Drinking Water Management Strategies in Rural Puerto Rico PLOS ONE Jain, M., Lim, Y., Arce-Nazario, J. A., Uriarte, M. 2014; 9 (2)


    Identifying which factors influence household water management can help policy makers target interventions to improve drinking water quality for communities that may not receive adequate water quality at the tap. We assessed which perceptional and socio-demographic factors are associated with household drinking water management strategies in rural Puerto Rico. Specifically, we examined which factors were associated with household decisions to boil or filter tap water before drinking, or to obtain drinking water from multiple sources. We find that households differ in their management strategies depending on the institution that distributes water (i.e. government PRASA vs community-managed non-PRASA), perceptions of institutional efficacy, and perceptions of water quality. Specifically, households in PRASA communities are more likely to boil and filter their tap water due to perceptions of low water quality. Households in non-PRASA communities are more likely to procure water from multiple sources due to perceptions of institutional inefficacy. Based on informal discussions with community members, we suggest that water quality may be improved if PRASA systems improve the taste and odor of tap water, possibly by allowing for dechlorination prior to distribution, and if non-PRASA systems reduce the turbidity of water at the tap, possibly by increasing the degree of chlorination and filtering prior to distribution. Future studies should examine objective water quality standards to identify whether current management strategies are effective at improving water quality prior to consumption.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0088059

    View details for Web of Science ID 000332396200015

    View details for PubMedID 24586302

  • The importance of rare species: a trait-based assessment of rare species contributions to functional diversity and possible ecosystem function in tall-grass prairies ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION Jain, M., Flynn, D. F., Prager, C. M., Hart, G. M., DeVan, C. M., Ahrestani, F. S., Palmer, M. I., Bunker, D. E., Knops, J. M., Jouseau, C. F., Naeem, S. 2014; 4 (1): 104-112


    The majority of species in ecosystems are rare, but the ecosystem consequences of losing rare species are poorly known. To understand how rare species may influence ecosystem functioning, this study quantifies the contribution of species based on their relative level of rarity to community functional diversity using a trait-based approach. Given that rarity can be defined in several different ways, we use four different definitions of rarity: abundance (mean and maximum), geographic range, and habitat specificity. We find that rarer species contribute to functional diversity when rarity is defined by maximum abundance, geographic range, and habitat specificity. However, rarer species are functionally redundant when rarity is defined by mean abundance. Furthermore, when using abundance-weighted analyses, we find that rare species typically contribute significantly less to functional diversity than common species due to their low abundances. These results suggest that rare species have the potential to play an important role in ecosystem functioning, either by offering novel contributions to functional diversity or via functional redundancy depending on how rare species are defined. Yet, these contributions are likely to be greatest if the abundance of rare species increases due to environmental change. We argue that given the paucity of data on rare species, understanding the contribution of rare species to community functional diversity is an important first step to understanding the potential role of rare species in ecosystem functioning.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ece3.915

    View details for Web of Science ID 000329183100010

    View details for PubMedID 24455165

  • Mapping cropping intensity of smallholder farms: A comparison of methods using multiple sensors REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT Jain, M., Mondal, P., DeFries, R. S., Small, C., Galford, G. L. 2013; 134: 210-223
  • Groundwater Depletion, Adaptation and Migration: Evidence from Gujarat, India WORKING PAPER Fishman, R., Jain, M., Kishore, A. 2013
  • Ecosystem services research in Latin America: The state of the art ECOSYSTEM SERVICES Balvanera, P., Uriarte, M., Almeida-Lenero, L., Altesor, A., DeClerck, F., Gardner, T., Hall, J., Lara, A., Laterra, P., Pena-Claros, M., Silva Matos, D. M., Vogl, A. L., Romero-Duque, L., Arreola, L., Caro-Borrero, A., Gallego, F., Jain, M., Little, C., de Oliveira Xavier, R., Paruelo, J. M., Peinado, J. E., Poorter, L., Ascarrunz, N., Correa, F., Cunha-Santino, M. B. 2012; 2: 56-70
  • Functional and phylogenetic diversity as predictors of biodiversity-ecosystem-function relationships ECOLOGY Flynn, D. F., Mirotchnick, N., Jain, M., Palmer, M. I., Naeem, S. 2011; 92 (8): 1573-1581


    How closely does variability in ecologically important traits reflect evolutionary divergence? The use of phylogenetic diversity (PD) to predict biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning, and more generally the use of phylogenetic information in community ecology, depends in part on the answer to this question. However, comparisons of the predictive power of phylogenetic diversity and functional diversity (FD) have not been conducted across a range of experiments. To address how phylogenetic diversity and functional trait variation control biodiversity effects on biomass production, we summarized the results of 29 grassland plant experiments where both the phylogeny of plant species used in the experiments is well described and where extensive trait data are available. Functional trait variation was only partially related to phylogenetic distances between species, and the resulting FD values therefore correlate only partially with PD. Despite these differences, FD and PD predicted biodiversity effects across all experiments with similar strength, including in subsets that excluded plots with legumes and that focused on fertilization experiments. Two- and three-trait combinations of the five traits used here (leaf nitrogen percentage, height, specific root length, leaf mass per unit area, and nitrogen fixation) resulted in the FD values with the greatest predictive power. Both PD and FD can be valuable predictors of the effect of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning, which suggests that a focus on both community trait diversity and evolutionary history can improve understanding of the consequences of biodiversity loss.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000293459100004

    View details for PubMedID 21905424

  • Facilitation between bovids and equids on an African savanna EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY RESEARCH Odadi, W. O., Jain, M., Van Wieren, S. E., Prins, H. H., Rubenstein, D. I. 2011; 13 (3): 237-252
  • Biophysical and Socioeconomic Factors Associated with Forest Transitions at Multiple Spatial and Temporal Scales ECOLOGY AND SOCIETY Yackulic, C. B., Fagan, M., Jain, M., Jina, A., Lim, Y., Marlier, M., Muscarella, R., Adame, P., DeFries, R., Uriarte, M. 2011; 16 (3)
  • Structure determination and infrared spectroscopy of K(UO2)(SO4)(OH)(H-O-2) and K(UO2)(SO4)(OH) INORGANIC CHEMISTRY Forbes, T. Z., Goss, V., Jain, M., Burns, P. C. 2007; 46 (17): 7163-7168


    Two potassium uranyl sulfate compounds were synthesized, and their crystal structures were determined by single-crystal X-ray diffraction. K(UO2)(SO4)(OH)(H2O) (KUS1) crystallizes in space group P21/c, a = 8.0521(4) A, b = 7.9354(4) A, c = 11.3177(6) A, beta = 107.6780(10) degrees , V = 689.01(6) A3, and Z = 4. K(UO2)(SO4)(OH) (KUS2) is orthorhombic Pbca, a = 8.4451(2) A, b = 10.8058(4) A, c = 13.5406(5)A, V = 1235.66(7)A3, and Z = 8. Both structures were refined on the basis of F2 for all unique data collected with Mo Kalpha radiation and a CCD-based detector to agreement indices R1 = 0.0251 and 0.0206 calculated for 2856 and 2616 reflections for KUS1 and KUS2, respectively. The structures contain vertex-sharing uranyl pentagonal bipyramids and sulfate tetrahedra linked into new chains and sheet topologies. Infrared spectroscopy provides additional information about the linkages between the sulfate and uranyl polyhedra, as well as the hydrogen bonding present in the structures. The U-O-S connectivity is examined in detail, and the local bond angle is impacted by the steric constraints of the crystal structure.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/ic700691k

    View details for Web of Science ID 000248757200049

    View details for PubMedID 17655223