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Dr. Yongjiang Zhang
Dept. of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
Holbrook Lab, Room 3116
16 Divinity Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Tel: (1) 617-496-3580
Office: Holbrook Lab, Room 3116
Tel: (1) 617-496-3580
Group affiliation: Giorgio Ruffolo Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Sustainability Science
Yongjiang Zhang is a Giorgio Ruffolo Post-doctoral Research Fellow in the Sustainability Science Program based at Harvard's Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Department. His research is on plant ecophysiology focusing on water relations and photosynthesis. Yongjiang is contributing to collaborative work with the Initiative on Integrated use of Land and Water Resources for Sustainable Development led by Professor N. Michele Holbrook. He received two PhD degrees: one in Biology from the University of Miami’s Department of Biology (2012) and the other in Ecology from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) (2011). He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Science from Sichuan University in China. He also had a one year’s exchange study at the University of Washington (2002-2003). His CAS dissertation research focused on the coordination of plant water use and carbon balance in Brazil, Argentina, and tropical and subtropical China, to understand the environmental controls on this coordination. For his dissertation at UM, he worked on the water and carbon economies of deciduous and evergreen broadleaf trees from a montane cloud forest in SW China, and tried to explain the ecological phenomenon that evergreen broadleaf trees dominate the high elevation forests in SW China despite a pronounced winter/dry season. He was involved in research projects on biodiversity conservation and global climate change, and in popular science education to primary and high school students. He is the recipient of an Anness Fellowship from UM (2007), and a Libo Graduate Research Award from China (2009). His faculty host is Prof. N. Michele Holbrook.
The importance of fog in maintaining tropical rainforests in southwest China: Physiological and hydrological basis for forest conservation and sustainable development
Tropical China harbors great biodiversity, and is included in the Indo-Burma diversity hotspot. Although at the northern limit of the tropics, the lowland rainforests in this region are typical Asian tropical rainforests. Fog has been hypothesized to be an important factor in maintaining rainforests in this region, but the mechanism has never been studied. Climate change and rapidly expanding rubber plantations are thought to have made this region drier and warmer, and, as a result, the fog is decreasing. This may threaten the remaining tropical rainforests in this region, and make the development of the plantations and agricultural systems unsustainable. The study determines the physiological effects of fog on plant productivity, as well as the impacts of large scale deforestation on the hydrology of this region. This project will combine lab and greenhouse based physiological studies at Harvard, with field works and integrative analysis of physiological, climatic, ecosystem level data via cooperation with ecologists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. This study also searches for ecological, social, and economic solutions for sustainable development of tropical China.