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Faculty and Staff
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88 Xuefu Road, Kunming, 650223, Yunnan, China




2001–2005B. Sc. In Biology, Sichuan Normal University 

2005–2008M. Sc. In Botany, Kunming Institute Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences 

2010–2013Ph. D. in Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences 


Research interests:   

My research focuses on the assembly, diversity, and dynamics of ecological communities across spatio-temporal scales. I am especially intrigued by the interplay of processes across ecological and biogeographic gradients, including evolutionary processes that create variation in biodiversity across biogeographic regions, environmental and spatial mechanisms of community assembly across landscapes, and mechanisms that shape local community diversity and dynamics. Through my studies, I strive to gain mechanistic insights into the relative importance of ecological processes that structure local communities within the broader context of biogeographic and evolutionary processes that shape regional biotas. My current field projects focus on local tropical and subtropical forests in Indo-China Peninsula and Yunann Province. 



Community Ecology. 







1.Zhang L, Liu XJ, Sun ZH, Bu WS, Bongers FJ, Song XY, Yang J, Sun ZK, Li Y, Li S et al: Functional trait space and redundancy of plant communities decrease toward cold temperature at high altitudes in Southwest China. Science China-Life Sciences 2023, 66(2):376-384. 

2.Yang J, Swenson NG: Height and crown allometries and their relationship with functional traits: An example from a subtropical wet forest. Ecology and Evolution 2023, 13(2). 

3.Xu SJ, Yuan Y, Song PF, Cui MF, Zhao RS, Song XY, Cao M, Zhang YZ, Yang J: The spatial patterns of diversity and their relationships with environments in rhizosphere microorganisms and host plants differ along elevational gradients. Frontiers in Microbiology 2023, 14. 

4.Shah SKW, Ilyas M, Li R, Yang J, Yang FL: Microplastics and Nanoplastics Effects on Plant-Pollinator Interaction and Pollination Biology. Environmental Science & Technology 2023, 57(16):6415-6424. 

5.Hogan JA, Jusino MA, Smith ME, Corrales A, Song XY, Hu YH, Yang J, Cao M, Valverde-Barrantes OJ, Baraloto C: Root-associated fungal communities are influenced more by soils than by plant-host root traits in a Chinese tropical forest. New Phytologist 2023, 238(5):1849-1864. 

6.Zhang YZ, Liu Y, Sun L, Baskin CC, Baskin JM, Cao M, Yang J: Seed dormancy in space and time: global distribution, paleoclimatic and present climatic drivers, and evolutionary adaptations. New Phytologist 2022, 234(5):1770-1781. 

7.Xu GR, Yang L, Xu L, Yang J: Soil microplastic pollution under different land uses in tropics, southwestern China. Chemosphere 2022, 289. 

8.Wang XZ, Sun SW, Sedio BE, Glomglieng S, Cao M, Cao KF, Yang JH, Zhang JL, Yang J: Niche differentiation along multiple functional-trait dimensions contributes to high local diversity of Euphorbiaceae in a tropical tree assemblage. Journal of Ecology 2022, 110(11):2731-2744. 

9.Wang G, Ives AR, Zhu H, Tan YH, Chen SC, Yang J, Wang B: Phylogenetic conservatism explains why plants are more likely to produce fleshy fruits in the tropics. Ecology 2022, 103(1). 

10.McEvoy SL, Sezen UU, Trouern-Trend A, McMahon SM, Schaberg PG, Yang J, Wegrzyn JL, Swenson NG: Strategies of tolerance reflected in two North American maple genomes. Plant Journal 2022, 109(6):1591-1613. 

11.Liu LB, Yang J, Cao M, Song QH: Intraspecific trait variation of woody species reduced in a savanna community, southwest China. Plant Diversity 2022, 44(2):163-169. 

12.Kaewsong K, Chang-Yang CH, Bunyavejchewin S, Kraichak E, Yang J, Sun ZH, Zhang CC, Li WF, Lin LX, Sun IF: Effects of fire disturbance on species and functional compositions vary with tree sizes in a tropical dry forest. Peerj 2022, 10. 

13.He YY, Srisombut K, Xing DL, Swenson NG, Asefa M, Cao M, Song XY, Wen HD, Yang J: Ontogenetic trait variation and metacommunity effects influence species relative abundances during tree community assembly. Plant Diversity 2022, 44(4):360-368. 

14.Yang J, Song XY, Zambrano J, Chen YX, Cao M, Deng XB, Zhang WF, Yang XF, Zhang GC, Tang Y et al: Intraspecific variation in tree growth responses to neighbourhood composition and seasonal drought in a tropical forest. Journal of Ecology 2021, 109(1):26-37. 

15.Yang J, Song XY, Cao M, Deng XB, Zhang WF, Yang XF, Swenson NG: On the modelling of tropical tree growth: the importance of intra-specific trait variation, non-linear functions and phenotypic integration. Annals of Botany 2021, 127(4):533-542. 

16.Worthy SJ, Rubio VE, Staiger K, Ngouajio B, Yang J, Swenson NG: Site-specific impacts of a major hurricane on alpha and beta diversity in tropical forest seedling communities. Ecosphere 2021, 12(7). 

17.Wei R, Yang J, He LJ, Liu HM, Hu JY, Liang SQ, Wei XP, Zhao CF, Zhang XC: Plastid phylogenomics provides novel insights into the infrafamilial relationship of Polypodiaceae. Cladistics 2021, 37(6):717-727. 

18.Song XY, Yang J, Cao M, Lin LX, Sun ZH, Wen HD, Swenson NG: Traits mediate a trade-off in seedling growth response to light and conspecific density in a diverse subtropical forest. Journal of Ecology 2021, 109(2):703-713. 

19.Song XY, Lim JY, Yang J, Luskin MS: When do Janzen-Connell effects matter? A phylogenetic meta-analysis of conspecific negative distance and density dependence experiments. Ecology Letters 2021, 24(3):608-620. 

20.Song XY, Cao M, Li JQ, Kitching RL, Nakamura A, Laidlaw MJ, Tang Y, Sun ZH, Zhang WF, Yang J: Different environmental factors drive tree species diversity along elevation gradients in three climatic zones in Yunnan, southern China. Plant Diversity 2021, 43(6):433-443. 

21.Mi XC, Sun ZH, Song YF, Liu XJ, Yang J, Wu JJ, Ci XQ, Li J, Lin LX, Cao M et al: Rare tree species have narrow environmental but not functional niches. Functional Ecology 2021, 35(2):511-520. 

22.Asefa M, Song XY, Cao M, Lasky JR, Yang J: Temporal trait plasticity predicts the growth of tropical trees. Journal of Vegetation Science 2021, 32(4). 

23.Zhang YB, Wu HD, Yang J, Song XY, Yang D, He FL, Zhang JL: Environmental filtering and spatial processes shape the beta diversity of liana communities in a valley savanna in southwest China. Applied Vegetation Science 2020, 23(4):482-494. 

24.Zhang R, He JW, Dong ZW, Liu GC, Yin Y, Zhang XY, Li Q, Ren YD, Yang YZ, Liu W et al: Genomic and experimental data provide new insights into luciferin biosynthesis and bioluminescence evolution in fireflies. Scientific Reports 2020, 10(1). 

25.Xu YJ, Zhang Y, Yang J, Lu ZY: Influence of tree functional diversity and stand environment on fine root biomass and necromass in four types of evergreen broad-leaved forests. Global Ecology and Conservation 2020, 21. 

26.Song XY, Zhang WF, Johnson DJ, Yang J, Asefa M, Deng XB, Yang XF, Cao M: Conspecific negative density dependence in rainy season enhanced seedling diversity across habitats in a tropical forest. Oecologia 2020, 193(4):949-957. 

27.Asefa M, Cao M, He YY, Mekonnen E, Song XY, Yang J: Ethiopian vegetation types, climate and topography. Plant Diversity 2020, 42(4):302-311. 

28.Zhu RJ, Song Y, Zhao GF, Yang J, Wang XL: The plastid genome of a tropical tree Alseodaphne petiolaris (Lauraceae). Mitochondrial DNA Part B-Resources 2019, 4(2):3544-3545. 

29.Zhao GF, Yang J, Wang XL, Song Y, Zhu RJ: The plastid genome of a spice plants Cinnamomum glanduliferum in Tibet (Lauraceae). Mitochondrial DNA Part B-Resources 2019, 4(2):3284-3285. 

30.Xu YJ, Zhang Y, Li W, Liu WY, Gu X, Guan ZH, Yang J, Lu ZY: Effects of tree functional diversity and environmental gradients on belowground biomass in a natural old-growth forest ecosystem. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 2019, 49(12):1623-1632. 

31.Song XY, Cao M, Kitching RL, Tang Y, Sun ZH, Nakamura A, Laidlaw MJ, Yang J: Environmental and spatial contributions to seedling and adult tree assembly across tropical, subtropical and subalpine elevational gradients. Journal of Plant Ecology 2019, 12(1):103-112. 

32.Asefa M, Brown C, Cao M, Zhang GC, Ci XQ, Sha LQ, Li J, Lin LX, Yang J: Contrasting effects of space and environment on functional and phylogenetic dissimilarity in a tropical forest. Journal of Plant Ecology 2019, 12(2):314-326. 

33.Zheng YL, Burns JH, Liao ZY, Li YP, Yang J, Chen YJ, Zhang JL, Zheng YG: Species composition, functional and phylogenetic distances correlate with success of invasive Chromolaena odorata in an experimental test. Ecology Letters 2018, 21(8):1211-1220. 

34.Yang J, Cao M, Swenson NG: Why Functional Traits Do Not Predict Tree Demographic Rates. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 2018, 33(5):326-336. 

35.Song XY, Johnson DJ, Cao M, Umana MN, Deng XB, Yang XF, Zhang WF, Yang J: The strength of density-dependent mortality is contingent on climate and seedling size. Journal of Vegetation Science 2018, 29(4):662-670. 

36.Song XY, Hogan JA, Lin LX, Wen HD, Cao M, Yang J: Canopy openness and topographic habitat drive tree seedling recruitment after snow damage in an old-growth subtropical forest. Forest Ecology and Management 2018, 429:493-502. 

37.Zhang CC, Yang J, Sha LQ, Ci XQ, Li J, Cao M, Brown C, Swenson NG, Lin LX: Lack of phylogenetic signals within environmental niches of tropical tree species across life stages. Scientific Reports 2017, 7. 

38.Umana MN, Mi XC, Cao M, Enquist BJ, Hao ZQ, Howe R, Iida Y, Johnson D, Lin LX, Liu XJ et al: The role of functional uniqueness and spatial aggregation in explaining rarity in trees. Global Ecology and Biogeography 2017, 26(7):777-786. 

39.Song XY, Hogan JA, Brown C, Cao M, Yang J: Snow damage to the canopy facilitates alien weed invasion in a subtropical montane primary forest in southwestern China. Forest Ecology and Management 2017, 391:275-281. 

40.Liu SY, Zhu H, Yang J: A Phylogenetic Perspective on Biogeographical Divergence of the Flora in Yunnan, Southwestern China. Scientific Reports 2017, 7. 

41.Asefa M, Cao M, Zhang GC, Ci XQ, Li J, Yang J: Environmental filtering structures tree functional traits combination and lineages across space in tropical tree assemblages. Scientific Reports 2017, 7. 

42.Wu JJ, Swenson NG, Brown C, Zhang CC, Yang J, Ci XQ, Li J, Sha LQ, Cao M, Lin LX: How does habitat filtering affect the detection of conspecific and phylogenetic density dependence? Ecology 2016, 97(5):1182-1193. 

43.Bartlett MK, Zhang Y, Yang J, Kreidler N, Sun SW, Lin L, Hu YH, Cao KF, Sack L: Drought tolerance as a driver of tropical forest assembly: resolving spatial signatures for multiple processes. Ecology 2016, 97(2):503-514. 

44.Yang J, Swenson NG, Zhang GC, Ci XQ, Cao M, Sha LQ, Li J, Slik JWF, Lin LX: Local-scale Partitioning of Functional and Phylogenetic Beta Diversity in a Tropical Tree Assemblage. Scientific Reports 2015, 5. 

45.Li R, Kraft NJB, Yang J, Wang YH: A phylogenetically informed delineation of floristic regions within a biodiversity hotspot in Yunnan, China. Scientific Reports 2015, 5. 

46.Yang J, Zhang GC, Ci XQ, Swenson NG, Cao M, Sha LQ, Li J, Baskin CC, Slik JWF, Lin LX: Functional and phylogenetic assembly in a Chinese tropical tree community across size classes, spatial scales and habitats. Functional Ecology 2014, 28(2):520-529. 

47.Yang J, Ci XQ, Lu MM, Zhang GC, Cao M, Li J, Lin LX: Functional traits of tree species with phylogenetic signal co-vary with environmental niches in two large forest dynamics plots. Journal of Plant Ecology 2014, 7(2):115-125. 

48.Lasky JR, Yang J, Zhang GC, Cao M, Tang Y, Keitt TH: The role of functional traits and individual variation in the co-occurrence of Ficus species. Ecology 2014, 95(4):978-990. 

49.Yang J, Swenson NG, Cao M, Chuyong GB, Ewango CEN, Howe R, Kenfack D, Thomas D, Wolf A, Lin LX: A Phylogenetic Perspective on the Individual Species-Area Relationship in Temperate and Tropical Tree Communities. Plos One 2013, 8(5). 

50.Li R, Yang J, Yang JB, Dao ZL: Isolation and Characterization of 21 Microsatellite Loci in Cardiocrinum giganteum var. yunnanense (Liliaceae), an Important Economic Plant in China. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2012, 13(2):1437-1443. 

51.Li R, Yang J, Dao ZL: Meconopsis xiangchengensis (Papaveraceae), a New Species from Sichuan, China. Novon 2012, 22(2):180-182. 



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