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  • Ke Zhang
  • Associate Professor
  • (+86)025 86882270
  • kzhang@niglas.ac.cn


Ke got his Ph.D degree in physical geography at Lanzhou University (China) in 2011, during which his research focus on understand environment and climate change during the last 2000 years in the Tibetan and Loess pleated through paleoenvironmental analysis. Then he move to UK to take up a postdoctoral fellowships at University of Southampton from 2011-2013, where he instigated the nonlinear interactions between ecosystem services and human wellbeing from an evolutionary (historical) perspective, which is funded by the Ecosystem Service and Poverty Alleviation program. Since late 2013, Ke work as a research fellow at Australia Research Council, Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, and his research focus on examining coastal social-ecological system using complex and resilience theory. Ke got the “Hundred Talent Program” of Chinese Academy of Science in 2016, and move back to Nanjing.



My research focus on long term dynamic changes of coupled social-ecological system within resilience lens. I employ multiple research approaches, including conceptual framework, statistical, empirical approach and modelling methods. By Taking an evolutionary perspective, I combine paleoenvironemtal records, historical document, archeological records as well as monitor record, to understand how social and ecological system interact and co-evolved from the past to present at different scales, especially examine their dynamics system behaviors of the coupled SES system, such as trends, rate of change, connectivity, threshold and regime shift, transient dynamics and feedback mechanisms etc. The overall aim of my research is learning from the past to generate new knowledge to inform environment management and restoration.




Select Publications


Zhang, K., Dearing J.A., Tong, S.L., 2016. China’s degraded environment enters a new normal. Trend in Ecology and Evolution, 31, 175-177.

 Zhang, K., 2015. Regime shifts and resilience in China’s coastal ecosystems. Ambio 45, 89-98. 

 Zhang, K., Dearing, J.A., Dawson, T.P.,  Dong, X., Yang, X.D., Zhang, W.G., 2014. Poverty alleviation strategies in eastern China lead to critical ecological dynamics. Science of the total Environment 506-507, 164-181. 

 Dearing, J.A., Wang, R., Zhang, K., Dyke, J., Haberl, H.,  Langdon, P.G., Lenton, T.,Raworth, K., Sohel, S.,  Brown, S., Carstensen, J., Cole, M., Cornell, S., Dawson, T.P., Doncaster, P.,  Eigenbrod, F., Eisner, S., Florke, M., Jeffers, E.,  Mackay, A., Nykvist, B., Poppy, G., ., 2014. Safe and just operating spaces for regional social-ecological systems. Global Environment Change 28, 227-238. 

 Dearing J.A., Yang, X., Dong, X.H., Chen, X., Langdon, P., Zhang, K., Zhang, W.G., Dawson, P., 2012. Extending the timescale and range of ecosystem services through paleoenvironmental analyses, exemplified in the lower Yangtze basin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 109, E111-E1120. 

 Zhang, K., Zhao, Y., 2011.Conifer stomata analysis in paleoecological studies on the Loess Plateau: an example from Tianchi Lake, Liupan Mountains. Journal of Arid Environments 75, 1209-1213. 

 Zhang, K., Zhao, Y., Zhou, A.F., Sun, H.L., 2010. Late Holocene vegetation dynamics and human activities reconstructed from lake records in Western Loess Plateau, China. Quaternary International 227, 38-45. 

 Zhang, K., Zhao, Y., Yu, Z.C., Zhou, A.F, 2010. A 2700-year high resolution pollen record of climate change from varved Sugan Lake in the Qaidam Basin, northeastern Tibetan Plateau. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 297, 290-298. 

 Zhao, Y., Yu, Z.C., Liu, X.J., Zhao, C., Chen, F.H., Zhang, K., 2010. Late Holocene vegetation and climate oscillations in the Qaidam Basin of the northeastern Tibetan Plateau. Quaternary Research 1, 59-69.

 Zhao, Y., Chen, F.H., Zhou, A.F., Yu, Z.C., Zhang, K., 2010.Vegetation history, climate change and human activities over the last 6200 years on the Liupan Mountains in the southwestern Loess Plateau in central China.Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 293, 197-205. 

 Li, F., Sun, J., Zhao, Y., Guo, X., Zhao,W., Zhang, K., 2010. Ecological significance of common pollen ratios: A review. Frontiers of Earth Science in China 4, 253-258.