About me

 I am a plant ecologist and interested in biogeography and plant diversity. My research is to explore the geographic patterns, ecological determinants and ecosystem effects of plant functional traits, and also focused on trait trade-offs and functional diversity.

I joint HES of Xi'an Jiaotong - Liverpool University Sep. 2021. I obtained PhD degree in Ecology at Peking University (PKU) in 2019, visited University of Arizona 1 year as a research scholar, and worked as a postdoc of PKU-IIASA international program. My current work is on the relationship of biodiversity with ecosystem functioning under climate change via functional traits.

For teaching & research, see XJTLU webpage

Contact information 

Office: ES331, XJTLU south campus; Phone: 0512-8188 3290

Twitter: @ YAOQI_117; E-mail: Yaoqi.Li@xjtlu.edu.cn


  • City/region: Suzhou


For publications, see Google Scholar or ResearchGate

Representative papers are listed as below:

  1. Li Y., Reich B.P., Schmid B., Shrestha N., Feng X., Lyu T., Maitner B.S., Xu X., Li Y., Zou D., Tan Z., Su X., Tang Z., Guo Q., Feng X., Enquist B.J., Wang Z.* (2020) Leaf size of woody dicots predicts ecosystem primary productivity [J]. Ecology Letters, 23: 1003–1013; doi: 10.1111/ele.13503
  2. Luo A.#, Li Y.#, Shrestha N., Xu X., Su X., Li Y., Lyu T., Waris K., Tang Z., Liu X., Lin L., Chen Y., Zu K., Song W., Peng S., Zimmermann N.E., Pellissier L., Wang Z.* (2024) Global multi-faceted biodiversity patterns, centers, and conservation needs in angiosperms [J]. Science China: Life Sciences; doi: 10.1007/s11427-023-2430-2. (#, contributed equally)
  3. Li Y., Wang Z.* (2023) Functional biogeography of plants: research progresses and challenges[J]. Chinese Journal of Plant Ecology, 47: 145–169; doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2022.0245. (Chinese Review) [李耀琪,王志恒*。(2023) 植物功能生物地理学的研究进展与展望。植物生态学报,47: 145–169; doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2022.0245。(综述)]
  4. Li Y., Wang Z.* (2021) Leaf morphological traits: ecological function, geographic distribution and drivers [J]. Chinese Journal of Plant Ecology, 45: 1154–1172; doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0405. (Chinese Review in Ecosystem Structure and Function Forum) [李耀琪,王志恒*。(2021) 植物叶片形态的生态功能、地理分布与成因。植物生态学报,45: 1154–1172; doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2020.0405。(生态系统结构与功能专辑,综述)]
  5. Li Y., Wang Z.*, Xu X., Han W., Wang Q., Zou D. (2016) Leaf margin analysis of Chinese woody plants and the constraints on its application to palaeoclimatic reconstruction [J]. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 25: 1401-1415; doi: 10.1111/geb.12498.
  6. Li Y.#, Zou D.#, Shrestha N., Xu X., Wang Q., Jia W. & Wang Z.* (2020). Spatiotemporal variation in leaf size and shape in response to climate [J]. Journal of Plant Ecology, 13: 87–96; doi: 10.1093/jpe/rtz053. (Editor’s Choice; JPE 2020 best paper)
  7. Wang Z.#,*, Li Y.#, Su X., Tao S., Feng X., Wang Q., Xu X., Liu Y., Michaletz S., Shrestha N., Enquist B. (2019) Patterns and ecological determinants of woody plant height in eastern Eurasia: applications in predicting ecosystem primary productivity [J]. Journal of Plant Ecology, 12: 791–803; doi: 10.1093/jpe/rtz053. (Editor’s Choice)

Some co-authored papers:

  1. Meng J., Li Y., Feng Y., Hua F., Shen X., Li S., Shrestha N., Peng S., Rahbek C., Wang Z. (2023) Anthropogenic vulnerability assessment of global terrestrial protected areas with a comprehensive framework [J]. Biological Conservation, 283: 110064; doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2023.110064.
  2. Zhou J., Li Y., Lyu T., Yu H., Meng J., Song W., Kang Y., Yu D., Wang Z. (2023) Environmental determinants of aquatic plant diversity differ between growth forms and range sizes [J]. Ecological Indicators, 157: 111280; doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2023.111280.
  3. Wang Q., Li Y., Zou D., Su X., Cai H., Luo A., Jiang K., Zhang X., Xu X., Shrestha N., Wang Z.* (2021) Phylogenetic niche conservatism and variations in species diversity-climate relationships [J]. Ecography, 44: 1856–1868; doi:10.1111/ecog.05759.

  4. Peng S., Shrestha N., Luo Y., Li Y., Cai H., Qin H., Ma K., Wang Z. (2023) Incorporating global change reveals increased extinction risk than the current Red List [J]. Current Biology, 33: 1-10; doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2023.07.047.
  5.  Zu K., Chen F., Li Y., Shrestha N., Fang X., Ahmad S., Nabi G., Wang Z. (2023) Climate change impacts flowering phenology in Gongga Mountains, Southwest China [J]. Plant diversity; doi: 10.1016/j.pld.2023.07.007.
  6. Luo A., Xu X., Liu Y., Li Y., Su X., Li Y., Lyu T., Dimitrov D., Larjavaara M., Peng S., Wang Q., Zimmermann N., Pellissier L., Schmid B., Wang Z.* (2022) Spatiotemporal patterns in the woodiness of flowering plants. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 32, 384–396. Doi: 10.1111/geb.13627.
  7. Peng S., Zhang J., Zhang X., Li Y., Liu Y., Wang Z.* (2021) Conservation of woody species in China under future global changes. Journal of Applied Ecology, 59: 141–152; doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.14037.

Ongoing and Participated Grants

2024/01 – 2026/12, Spatial distribution of functional diversity and its relationship with ecosystem productivity (功能多样性的空间分布及其与生态系统生产力间的关系). The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) for Young Scholars, Principal Investigator (PI).

2023/07 – 2025/06, Trait Gap-filling of global seed plants: imputation and prediction (全球种子植物性状的缺失度填充与分布预测). Natural Science Foundation of the Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions of China Programme, Jiangsu Education Department, PI.

2023/07 – 2025/06, Effect and management of surrounding weeds on economic output of organic rice (伴生杂草和除草管理对有机稻经济产出的影响), Research Development Fund of XJTLU, PI.

2022/01 – 2026/12, Theory and method of the ecological planning of urban and rural landscape with locality for livability (#52130804, 宜居城乡地方性景观生态规划理论及方法). The key program of NSFC. (Joint)

2020/01 – 2023/12, The mechanism of differences in light response of stomata on the upper and lower surfaces of leaf (#31972937, 叶片上下两面气孔对光响应差异的机制). The general program of NSFC. (Joint)

2018/05 – 2023/04, The response mechanism of Chinese vegetation phenology to global change and trend for future phenological shifts (#2018YFA0606104, 中国植被物候对全球变化的响应机制及未来趋势). The National Key Research Development Program of China (NKRDPC) from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST). (Joint)

2017/07 – 2022/06, Impacts of global changes on woody plant diversity in the North Hemisphere (#2017YFA0605101, 全球变化对北半球木本植物多样性的影响). NKRDPC from MOST. (Joint)

2016/01 – 2017/12, Large-Scale Patterns of Plant Diversity in Eastern Eurasia: Determinants and Responses to Future Climate Change (#31611130032, 欧亚大陆东部木本植物多样性格局及其对气候变化的响应). NSFC. (Joint)

2015/01 – 2018/12, Macroevolutionary mechanisms underlying large-scale patterns of woody plant diversity in China (#31470564, 中国木本植物物种多样性格局的宏观进化机制). NSFC. (Joint)

Student recruitment

I am recruiting PhD candidates who are interested in the following areas:
  • Plant functional diversity in QTP: from individual performance to ecosystem productivity
  • Effect and management of surrounding weeds on eco-economic output of organic rice
  • Variation of leaf size: climate drivers, structure constrains, and ecological implication


I am applying for postgraduate research scholarship for full-funded PhD positions, and also welcome RAs or tuition-free students. Students have opportunities to visit labs in Peking University, Sichuan University, ect. for collaboration. Please contact me if you are interested. 

  • 全球变化下高原植物的功能多样性:从个体生长到生态系统生产力
  • 伴生杂草对有机稻经济生产和生态效益的影响及其调控
  • 植物叶大小变化的气候驱动、结构限制与生态启示  



I am open to undergraduates for summer undergraduate research fellowship program (SURF) or the final year projects (FYP) who are interested in plant diversity of urban greenland and organic farmland (e.g. composition, phenology and adaptation) based on observation, experiments and big-data exploration.



Research Service

As a reviewer for several academic journals, including Ecology Letters, Journal of Ecology, Oikos, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Ecology and Evolution, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, Journal of Plant Ecology, Biodiversity Science, and Pratacultural Science.

As a member of Ecological Society of China, American Geophysical Union, Botanical Society of America, and Open Trait Network.


2024/01, Academic Exchange Symposium on the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Institute of Agricultural Ecology, China Agricultural University; Presentation Title: “Research Progress and Prospects of Plant Functional Biogeography”.

2023/12, Annual Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the Moscone Center, San Francisco, USA; Presentation Title: “Biodiversity effect on biomass is mediated by plant traits under rapidly warming”.

2023/09, The 3rd Biogeography Congress and Southwest Biodiversity Conservation Forum, Kunming, China. Presentation Title: “Functional biogeography of plants: patterns, drivers, effects and implication” in Yunnan University.

2023/07, The 7th Symposium of Young Scholars on Terrestrial Ecosystems, Tibet, China.

2023/07, Annual Meeting of the Botanical Society of America (BSA), Biose, USA (online); Presentation Title: “Spatiotemporal Patterns of Leaf Morphological Traits: Driven by Climate and Linked with Ecosystem Productivity”.

2019/12, Annual Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the Moscone Center, San Francisco, USA; Presentation Title: “Leaf size of woody dicots predict ecosystem primary productivity”.

2018/08, Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA), the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, USA; Presentation Title: “Geographical patterns in leaf size and its implication”.

2018/07, 4th TraitTrain International Plant Functional Traits, the University Centre in Svalbard, Norway.

2017/04, General Assembly 2017 of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), Austria Center Vienna, Austria; Poster Title: “Geographic patterns in height of woody plants in eastern Asia and their ecological and evolutionary determinants”.

2017/04, 10th Annual Meeting of the Macroecology Working Group for the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria & Switzerland (GfO), University of Vienna, Austria; Poster Title: “Patterns in leaf morphological traits of Chinese woody plants and the application for paleoclimate reconstruction”.

2016/05, The Biogeography of Ecology – IBS Special Meeting (IBS), China National Convention Center, China; Poster Title: “Leaf margin analysis of Chinese woody plants and the constraints on its application for paleoclimatic reconstruction”.

Research related news

Publication: Global Multifaceted Biodiversity Patterns and Conservation

Publication: Leaf size of woody dicots predicts ecosystem primary productivity

Review: Functional biogeography of plants

Publication: Spatiotemporal variation in leaf size and shape

Award: JPE Best Paper awards (2020)



Teaching Experience

2024/02 – 2024/05, ENV313 (Environmental Remediation and Rehabilitation, Field Class, as module leader);

2023/09 – 2023/12, ENV115 (General Laboratory Techniques and Experiments in Environmental Science, module leader).

2023/02 – 2023/05, ENV313 (module leader); ENV114 (Introduction to Environmental Chemistry and Monitoring, co-caught).

2022/09 – 2022/12, ENV115 (module leader).

2022/02 – 2022/05, ENV201 (Research Design, co-taught); ENV313 (co-caught).

2021/09 – 2021/12, ENV113 (Introduction of Ecology, Evolution and Earth System, module leader); ENV115 (co-caught).

2022/02 - 2023/05, ENV002 (Global Environmental Issues, joint).

2021/09 - 2024/05, ENV301 (Final Year Project, joint).

Research Group


    Yijia Liu (2023, Ecology)

    Rui Wang (2023, Ecology)

    Wanxue Zhang (2023, Ecology, co-supervised with Prof. Han)

    Yixuan Ding (2022, Ecology, co-supervised with Prof. Han)

Final Year Project students

     Yutian Song (UG2024, Ecology)

     Xinyue Chen (UG2023, Ecology, co-supervised with Prof. Li; graduated)

     Xiao Xu (UG2023, Ecology, co-supervised with Prof. Yuan; graduated)

     Jiemo Xu (PG2023, Statistics)

     Tianhao Chen (PG2023, Statistics)

Fieldwork Experience

2023/08, Forest Community inventory in Sichuan Gongga Mountains. Collaborators: Xiaoting Xu (Sichuan University) & Yan Yang (Chinese Academy of Sciences).

2022/08 & 2023/06, Filed trip in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, including Huangnan, Yushu and Guoluo. XJTLU.

2018/07, Plant trait on-site and from-space investigation in Arctic islands, Supervisor: Vigdis Vandvik (University of Bergen) & Brian Enquist (UofA).

2018/05 – 2018/05, Forest plot survey in Yun-Meng Mountain, Supervisor: Brian Enquist (UofA).

2017/07 – 2017/08, Forest-community survey in Chang-Bai Mountain, Supervisor: Zhiheng Wang (PKU).

2014/07 – 2016/09, Transplanting experiment related to Biodiversity–Ecosystem Functioning on a Changing Plateau, Supervisor: Zhiheng Wang (PKU) & Bernhard Schmid (UofZ).

2015/07 – 2015/08, Natural and cultural investigation around Gong-Ga Mountain with members from Mountaineering Association of PKU, Supervisor: Junkai Qian (PKU).

2013/07 – 2013/08, Comprehensive forest-community surveys of North China in plant functional traits, Supervisor: Wenxuan Han (CAU).


grassland and ground species in QTP.png

Nature wisdom


Teaching related news

Teaching: Reflection of online teaching through peer-observations

School news: Join in HES



Yaoqi Li's friends

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