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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.             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. 

2.             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. 

3.             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. 

4.             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. 

5.             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. 

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

7.             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. 

8.             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. 

9.             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. 

10.          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. 

11.          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. 

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

13.          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. 

14.          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. 

15.          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. 

16.          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. 

17.          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. 

18.          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. 

19.          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. 

20.          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. 

21.          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). 

22.          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. 

23.          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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