Kai awarded New Phytologist Tansley Medal

UC Santa Cruz News Quantitative ecologist wins Tansley Medal for plant science contributions November 04, 2020 By Allison Arteaga Soergel Kai Zhu joined the UC Santa Cruz faculty in 2017 and is now an assistant professor in the Environmental Studies Department.  From a global field of applicants, environmental studies assistant professor Kai Zhu was recently chosen as one of two honorees to receive the Tansley Medal for Excellence in Plant Science. This annual award, presented by [...]


Lab presented at ESA 2020

The lab presented at the Ecological Society of America (ESA) 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting. Clara Qin Combining continental-scale sampling networks to uncover the rules of fungal community assembly Abstract link Yiluan Song Keeping up with climate: Phenology in the Anthropocene Abstract link Kai Zhu Latitudinal patterns of climate tracking in montane plants and animals Abstract link


Microsoft AI for Earth grant supports ecological forecasting of plant phenology

Kai Zhu, Steve Munch, and Yiluan Song were awarded the Microsoft AI for Earth Azure compute credit grant of $15,000. In a one-year project, the team aims to forecast pollen levels with data-driven phenology models. Microsoft Azure's wide array of cloud computing services will enable the team to decipher the complex dynamics of plant phenology and make scalable predictions to inform public health decisions under climate change. (Photo credit: Microsoft.)


Clara’s paper selected as editor’s choice and on journal’s cover

An article by Clara, Kai, and collaborators at Stanford University was selected as editor's choice in the Journal of Ecology. The print version of the issue, published today, also features a photo of the study site during a 2011 prescribed burn – the same treatment which helped the authors to conclude that climate change affects grassland soil microbial communities primarily through the legacy effects of fire and shifts in plant community composition. Co-authors Nona Chiariello [...]


Lan published meta-analysis on plant-soil diversity

Lan Liu, a former postdoc, published a meta-analysis paper on plant-soil diversity in ESA journal Ecosphere. Liu L, Zhu K, Wurzburger N, Zhang J. Relationships between plant diversity and soil microbial diversity vary across taxonomic groups and spatial scales. Ecosphere, 11(1):e02999. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.2999 Abstract Plant diversity has long been assumed to predict soil microbial diversity. However, contradictory results have been found when examining their relationships, particularly at broad spatial scales. To address this issue, we conducted a [...]


Yiluan presented at AGU meeting

Yiluan Song presented her poster "Keeping up with climate: phenology in the Anthropocene" at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting 2019 (Centennial) in the session "Understanding Phenological Responses and Feedbacks in Terrestrial Vegetation: Patterns, Mechanisms, and Consequences." Abstract link here.


Kai attended NEON Science Summit

Kai attended the NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network) Science Summit at the University of Colorado, Boulder, October 15-17, 2019. Excited to meet colleagues across various areas in macrosystems ecology. From the meeting website: […]


Clara published fire and plant effects on soil microbes

Clara and Kai, along with co-authors at Stanford University, published an article in the Journal of Ecology which demonstrates that climate change affects grassland soil microbial communities primarily through the legacy effects of fire and shifts in plant community composition. Qin, C., Zhu, K., Chiariello, N. R., Field, C. B., & Peay, K. G. (2019). Fire history and plant community composition outweigh decadal multi‐factor global change as drivers of microbial composition in an annual [...]


Major NSF grant supports research on soil fungi

Major NSF grant supports research on soil fungi Climate change will bring changes to fungi and tree distribution, possibly soil From UC Santa Cruz News September 03, 2019 By Jennifer McNulty Soil fungi are the quiet, underground workhorses of virtually every ecosystem from the tropics to Antarctica. Yet little is known about their prevalence, distribution, or how they might respond to climate change and other ecological disturbances. Kai Zhu, an assistant professor of environmental [...]

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