Academic Education

1994-1997, Ph. D. Plant Ecology: Northeast Forestry University, Harbin, China

1990-1993, M. S. Botany: Hangzhou University, Hangzhou, China

1986-1990, B. S. Biology: Hangzhou University, Hangzhou, China


Professional Experience

1998-  Lecturer, Associate Professor, Professor, College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China

Apr-May 2014: Visiting Professor, University of Zurich, Swizterland

July 2010-Feb 2011: Visiting Scholar, Florida International University and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, US

Feb-Apr 2008, Feb-Jun 2006: : Visiting Professor, University of Alberta, Cananda

1993-1998: Teaching Assistant, Lecturer, College of Life Sciences, Hangzhou University, Hangzhou, China


Professional service & Leadership

2017-, Vice Chairman, Zhejiang Association of Conservation of Wild Animals and Plants

2016-, Consultant Expert of Chinese National Wetland Park

2013-, Vice Chairman,  Ecological Society of Zhejiang Province

2013-, Member, Council of Botanical Society of China

2012-, Chairman, Botanical Society of Zhejiang Province

2011-, Member, Review Committee on Nature Reserves and Ecological Function Reserves in Zhejiang Province

2006-2016, Councilor, Zhejiang Association for Science and Technology

2002-2012, Secretary-General, Vice Chairman, Botanical Society of Zhejiang Province


Research Interests 

1. Subtropical Forest Community Dynamics

We no longer think of forests–including subtropical forests—as unchanging communities. The evergreen broad-leaved forest is the zonal vegetation in the subtropics and one of the main forest types on Earth, and is widely distributed in China. Long-term research and monitoring on community assembly, species interaction, and ecosystem functioning through large stem-mapped forest dynamics plots are one of the hot spots in modern ecology research. In 2005, I and my colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) established a 24-ha primary evergreen broad-leaved forest dynamics plot in the Gutianshan National Natural Reserve, East China. At this site, I and my students have been researching species-area relationships, the effects of habitat heterogeneity and dispersal limitation on the maintenance of species diversity and functional diversity, as well as the role of forest gaps in forest dynamics.

2. Habitat Fragmentation Effects

Habitat fragmentation, which is widely recognized as one of the leading threats to biodiversity, consists of two simultaneous processes: the loss of habitat area and the division of habitat into isolated patches. Land-bridge islands, especially as formed by dam construction and subsequent inundation, are sometimes considered model or "experimental" systems for researching habitat fragmentation. I and my students are involved with several large studies researching the land-bridge islands in Thousand Island Lake – a man-made reservoir with over 1000 islands formed by the damming of a river in 1959 in Zhejiang province, East China. Using traditional plant survey methods, we have been sampling plant richness on over 150 islands and using forest dynamics plots to monitor community dynamics on 29 islands. Through these methods, we have been investigating the effects of habitat fragmentation on plant species diversity and community assembly, as well as the mechanisms driving biodiversity dynamics. Meanwhile, we collaborate with colleagues studying the ecology and biodiversity of birds, arthropods, mammals, amphibians and reptiles, exploring species interactions and food web structure within the fragmented habitats. We also research phylogenetic, functional, and genetic diversity and ecosystem functions and their relationships in this fragmented landscape.

3. Biodiversity and Conservation of Subtropical Forest Nature Reserves and Wetland Parks

There are many endemic species in subtropical forests and wetlands due to special vegetation and habitat differences on the gradient from tropical to temperate ecosystems. I and my lab have been studying and monitoring biodiversity — especially vegetation diversity — in subtropical forest nature reserves and wetland parks since the 1990’s. Based on this research, I am able to provide suggestions for management and ecological planning of the protected areas, as well as ecological evaluations of construction projects and biological invasions. 


Representative International Collaborative, National and Provincial Grants

2017-, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, "Near situ conservation and population reinforcement of Abies beshanzuensis". (PI)

2016-2019: NSFC, Study on the Plant Metacommunity in the Thousand Island Lake Region: Multiple Spatial Scales of Species Diversity and the Mechanisms of its Formation. (PI)

2014-2017: Botanic Gardens Conservation International, “Integrated Conservation of Rare Plants and Restoration of Degraded Ecosystems: a Case Study on the Huaniao Island in Zhoushan Archipelago, East China Sea”. (PI) 

2014-2018: NSFC-NSF Collaborative Research in Dimension of Biodiversity, “Phylogenetic, Functional, and Genetic Diversity and Ecosystem Functions in a Fragmented Landscape”. (PI)

2012-2014: Project of Zhejiang Provincial Government, “Monitoring of Wild Ecosystems – Investigation and Evaluation of the Change of Eco-Environment during 2000-2010 in Zhejiang Province”. (PI) 

2010-2013: Subproject of Foreign Exchange Program of NSFC, “Contribution of habitat and dispersal to the maintenance of species diversity in forest communities from different latitude”. (PI) 

2010-2013: Key Project of Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation (ZJNSF), “Edge Effects of Plant and Bird Community Structure on Land-bridge Islands in the Thousand Island Lake”. (PI)

2008-2011: Project of the National Key Technology R&D Program, "Monitoring Technique of Species Resources and Application in a Middle Subtropical Evergreen Broad-leaved Forest". (PI)

2008-2017: Joint projects of NSFC and German Research Foundation (DFG), "Field Experiments on Forest Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning in Dujiangyan, Subtropical China" and “The Role of Tree and Shrub Diversity Production, Erosion Control, Element Cycling, and Species Conservation in Chinese Subtropical Forest Ecosystems”. (Chinese PI of Subproject 10 and 5)

2008-2010: NSFC, “Assembly Rules of Plant Communities and Influences of Anthropogenic Disturbance in Fragmented Forests in the Thousand Island Lake Region”. (PI)


Representative papers (*Corresponding Author)

1. Legendre P., Mi X., Ren H., Ma K., Yu M., Sun I. F. & He F. 2009. Partitioning beta diversity in a subtropical broad-leaved forest of China. Ecology 90: 663-674.

2. Shen G., Yu M.*, Hu X. S., Mi X., Ren, H., Sun I. F. & Ma K. 2009. Species-area relationships explained by the joint effects of dispersal limitation and habitat heterogeneity. Ecology 90: 3033-3041.

3. Du J., Wang N., Alpert P., Yu M., Yu F.-H. & Dong M. 2010. Clonal integration increases performance of ramets of the fern Diplopterygium glaucum in an evergreen forest in southeastern China. Flora 205: 399-403.

4. Wang Y., Bao Y., Yu M., Xu G. & Ding P 2010. Nestedness for different reasons: the distributions of birds, lizards and mammals in islands of an inundated lake. Diversity and Distributions 16: 862–873.

5. Lang A. C., Härdtle W., Bruelheide H., Geißler C., Nadrowski K., Schuldt A., Yu M.& von Oheimb G. 2010. Tree morphology responds to neighbourhood competition and slope in species-rich forests in subtropical China. Forest Ecology and Management 260: 1708-1715.

6. von Oheimb G., Lang A. C., Bruelheide H., Forrester D., Wäsche I., Yu M. & Härdtle W. 2011. Individual-tree radial growth in a subtropical broad-leaved forest: the role of local neighbourhood competition. Forest Ecology and Management 261: 499-507.

7. Yu M., Xu X. & Ding P. 2011. Economic loss versus ecological gain: the outbreaks of invaded pinewood nematode in China. Biological Invasions 13: 1283-1290.

8. Hu G., Feeley J. K., Wu J., Xu G. & Yu M.* 2011. Determinants of plant species richness and patterns of nestedness in fragmented landscapes: evidence from land-bridge islands. Landscape Ecology 26: 1405-1417.

9. Yu M., Hu G., Feeley J. K., Wu J. & Ding P.* 2012. Richness and composition of plants and birds on land-bridge islands: effects of island attributes and differential responses of species groups. Journal of Biogeography 39: 1124-1133.

10. Luo Z., Yu M., Chen D., Wu Y. & Ding B. 2012. Spatial associations of tree species in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest. Journal of Plant Ecology 3: 346-355.

11. Hu G., Xu X., Wang Y., Lu G., Feeley J. K. & Yu M.* 2012. Regeneration of different plant functional types in a Masson pine forest following pine wilt disease. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36432.

12. Hu G., Wu J., Feeley J. K., Xu G. & Yu M.* 2012. The effects of landscape variables on the species-area relationship during late-stage habitat fragmentation. PLoS ONE 7(8): e43894.

13. Shen G., He F., Waagepetersen R., Sun I.-F., Hao Z., Chen Z.-S. and Yu M.* 2013. Quantifying effects of habitat heterogeneity and other clustering processes on spatial distributions of tree species. Ecology 94: 2436-2443.

14. Bruelheide H., Nadrowski K., Assmann T., Bauhus J., Both S., Buscot F., Chen X-Y, Ding B., Durka W., Erfmeier A., Gutknecht L.M.J., Guo D., Guo L-D, Härdtle W., He J-S, Klein A.-M., Kühn P., Liang Y., Liu X., Michalski S., Niklaus A.P., Pei K., Scherer-Lorenzen M., Scholten T., Schuldt A., Seidler G., Trogisch S., von Oheimb G., Welk E., Wirth C., Wubet T., Yang X., Yu M., Zhang S., Zhou H., Fischer M., Ma K., Schmid B. (authors are listed in the alphabetical order except for the first two and last three authors) 2014. Designing forest biodiversity experiments: general considerations illustrated by a new large experiment in subtropical China. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 5: 74-89.

15. Hu G., Jin Y., Liu J. and Yu M.* 2014. Functional diversity versus species diversity: relationships with habitat heterogeneity at multiple scales in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest. Ecological Research 29: 897-903.

16. Wilson M.C., Chen X., Corlett R.T., Didham R.K, Ding P.*, Holt R.D., Holyoak M., Hu G., Hughes A.C., Jiang L., Laurance W.F., Liu J., Pimm S.L., Robinson S.K., Russo S.E., Si X., Wilcove D.S., Wu J. & Yu M.* 2016. Habitat fragmentation and biodiversity conservation: key findings and future challenges Landscape Ecology 31: 219–227.

17. Hu G., Feeley K.J., Yu M.* 2016. Habitat fragmentation drives plant community assembly processes across life stages. PLoS ONE 11(7): e0159572.

18. Liu J., Qian H., Jin Y., Wu C., Chen J., Yu S., Wei X., Jin X., Liu J. & Yu M.* 2016. Disentangling the drivers of taxonomic and phylogenetic beta diversities in disturbed and undisturbed subtropical forests. Scientific Reports 6, 35926.

19. Jia X., He Z., Weiser M.D., Yin T., Akbar S., Kong X., Kai T., Jia Y., Lin H., Yu M., Tian X.* 2016. Indoor evidence for the contribution of soil microbes and corresponding environments to the decomposition of Pinus assoniana and Castanopsis sclerophylla litter from Thousand Island Lake. European Journal of Soil Biology 77: 44-52.

20. Eichenberg D., Pietsch K., Meister C., Ding W., Yu M. & Wirth C. 2017. The effect of microclimate on wood decay is indirectly altered by tree species diversity in a litterbag study. Journal of Plant Ecology 10: 170-178.

21. Liu J., Yu M.*, Tomlinsonb K. & Slik J.W.F. 2017. Patterns and drivers of plant biodiversity in Chinese university campuses. Landscape and Urban Planning 164: 64–70.

Research work

Subtropical Forest Ecology, Community Ecology, Vegetation Ecology, Biodiversity, Island Biogeography, Landscape Ecology.