• United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Personal Statement

I was trained as a field oceanographer. Supervised by Dr. Hongbin Liu, I obtained my PhD in Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2009, focusing on field experiments of microzooplankton grazing. Then I worked as a postdoctoral researcher working with Dr. Andrew Irwin and Zoe Finkel at Mount Alison University, Canada. 


From 2011-2015, I worked as an Associate Professor at Xiamen University, China, and had secured grants totaling £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. 

From 2015 to 2018, I worked at Japan Agency of Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) on a CREST project (PI: S. Lan Smith) funded by Japan Science and Technology Agency.

Since Nov 2018, I have been working as a Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Strathclyde. Currently, I am supervising five PhD students and 2 postdocs


I am an associate editor for the journal of Limnology and Oceanography, which is the flagship journal of Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO).


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.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

Education/Academic qualification

Trophic interactions within the microbial food web, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

5 Sept 200530 Dec 2008

Award Date: 15 May 2009


  • Biodiversity
  • Metabolic Theory of Ecology
  • Modeling


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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