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Accepting PhD Students


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Personal profile

Personal Statement

My academic career has undergone an unusual transition from empirical research to modeling in the field of biological oceanography. Supervised by Dr. Hongbin Liu, I obtained my PhD in Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2009, focusing on field experiments of zooplankton grazing. Then I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Mount Alison University, Canada and my main task was to analyze the global patterns of diversity and size of dinoflagellate cysts. I improved my statistical skills thanks to my supervisors Dr. Andrew Irwin and Zoe Finkel.


In 2011, I obtained the position of Associate Professor at Xiamen University. From 2011-2015, I had secured grants with the total budgets of £300K as a Principal Investigator from the National Science Foundation of China and other funding sources. As a Co-Principal investigator, I was also deeply involved in a China National Basic Research Program (“973” Program) entitled “Carbon cycling in China Seas-budget, controls and ocean acidification (CHOICE-C project)” led by Prof. Minhan Dai. In 2012, I was awarded the New Century Excellent Talent by the Ministry of Education of China. In 2015, I was awarded the David Cushing prize offered by the Journal of Plankton Research. During this period, I supervised four master students.

In 2015, I left Xiamen University and joined Japan Agency of Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). Part of the reason for this change was that I felt it necessary to obtain formal training on ocean modeling and JAMSTEC was a wonderful place for this goal. Besides my main work on a CREST project (PI: S. Lan Smith) funded by Japan Science and Technology Agency, I acquired a research grant worthy of £27.4K from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) as a Principal Investigator in 2016. After I worked for nearly four years in Japan, I moved to the University of Strathclyde. Currently, I am supervising two PhD students and will recruit a new PhD student in 2020 to tackle the puzzle of high phytoplankton diversity in the subtropical ocean desert. 


Research Interests

The primary focus of my research is how biodiversity affects marine ecosystem functioning such as primary production and biological carbon pump, for which the primary producers particularly phytoplankton play the pivotal role. The main questions I ask are:


i) What are the main patterns of functional traits, diversity, biomass, and productivity of primary producers including phytoplankton and macroalgae in the ocean?


ii)  What are the main processes determining these patterns?


iii) What are the fundamental roles of diversity on ecosystem functioning?


One specific question that has been intriguing me during the past several years is whether there exists a difference of temperature sensitivity between autotrophs and heterotrophs. While this appears a simple/trivial question, I have found that it can be a central theme linking statistics (regression), ecology (Metabolic Theory of Ecology and trait-based approaches), and earth sciences (biological pump and Glacial/inter-glacial CO2 fluctuations).

Expertise & Capabilities

Theoretical Ecology; Biological oceanography; Ecosystem modeling;  R, Fortran, Matlab.

Education/Academic qualification

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

5 Sep 200530 Dec 2008


  • Biodiversity
  • Metabolic Theory of Ecology
  • Modeling

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Research Output

Effect of phytoplankton size diversity on primary productivity in the North Pacific: trait distributions under environmental variability

Chen, B., Smith, S. L. & Wirtz, K. W., 30 Jan 2019, In : Ecology Letters. 22, 1, p. 56-66 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 6 Citations (Scopus)
    12 Downloads (Pure)

    Marine phytoplankton in subtropical coastal waters showing lower thermal sensitivity than microzooplankton

    Liu, K., Chen, B., Zhang, S., Sato, M., Shi, Z. & Liu, H., 31 May 2019, In : Limnology and Oceanography . 64, 3, p. 1103-1119 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)


    2015 David Cushing Prize

    Bingzhang Chen (Recipient), 1 Jan 2016

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


    • 3 Visiting an external academic institution

    Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht - Zentrum für Material- und Küstenforschung GmbH

    Bingzhang Chen (Visiting researcher)
    14 Oct 201918 Oct 2019

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesVisiting an external academic institution

    Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

    Bingzhang Chen (Visiting researcher)
    1 Jul 20195 Jul 2019

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesVisiting an external academic institution