Ecological succession and restoration
Along with the urbanization process, the abandonment of cropland becomes a widespread phenomenon worldwide, which would cause serious ecological, economical and political problems. Our lab focuses on the long-term dynamics of diversity patterns and plant invasion in the abandoned cropland. By using the data from the longest continuous study of old-field succession in the world – the Buell-Small Succession Study, We aim to understand the mechanisms of ecological succession and promote the restoration of old fields. This project is collaborated with Prof. Marc Cadotte, Tadashi Fukami, Fangliang He, Lin Jiang, and Scott Meiners.
Darwin’s naturalization conundrum
In the Origin of Species, Darwin (1859) proposed that invader species that closely related to the natives in the resident communities could become either more or less successful. This paradox has been named
Island biogeography of soil microbes
Microbes are known to exhibit biogeographic patterns. However, we know little about the biogeography of island-dwelling microorganisms. To address the knowledge gap, we plan to sequence soil samples collected on the land-bridge islands in the Thousand Island Lake (China), to explore patterns and determinants of bacterial and fungal diversity on actual islands. We aim to reveal whether the island biogeographical patterns of soil bacteria and fungi are generated by the same or different ecological processes.
Community assembly of microbial microcosms
Small microcosms have long been considered a powerful tool to answer fundamental ecological questions. The early use of microcosms by G. F. Gause has contributed to the development of important concepts in ecology including the competitive exclusion principle. In our lab, we used bacterial and algal microcosms as a model system to investigate the causes and consequences of biodiversity loss. For example, we have shown that the loss of diversity reduced the productivity and cadmium removal efficiencies of algal microcosms.