Kai Zhu was named a recipient of the 2012 Dean’s Award for Outstanding PhD Student Manuscript of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment for his paper, “Failure to migrate: lack of tree range expansion in response to climate change,” which was published in October 2011 in the peer-reviewed journal Global Change Biology. Press release highlights below.

Zhu’s study finds that more than half of eastern U.S. tree species aren’t responding as predicted to climate change. Many models have predicted that trees will migrate rapidly to higher latitudes and elevations in response to warming temperatures, but Zhu and his colleagues’ large-scale analysis finds no evidence that a consistent, climate-driven northward migration is occurring.

Zhu will be acknowledged at the Nicholas School Recognition Ceremony on May 12, and receive a check for $1,500.