I am a quantitative ecologist with broad interest and training in computation, biology and economics. What fascinates me most in my research is the developing of novel quantitative theories and data-based methods to solve complex problems that have never been able to be dealt with before.
Ph.D candidate, Environment Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley
B.A. Economics, China Center for Economic Research, Beijing, China
B.S. Ecology, Peking University
Research Interests / Specializations:
Theoretical ecology, coexistence, energy distribution, population dynamics, species interaction, MaxEnt
Predictive modeling, statistics, simulations, R
I am excited about the propect of a universal theory in ecology so throughout my Ph.D I work hard towards it. Impressed by the power of maximum entropy (MaxEnt) as an alternative approach to develop predictive models, I use it as the basis of my theory. The theory starts from one simple scenario of resource allocation and simultaneously predicts a number of things that previously can only be addressed by multiple independent theories, i.e. species coexistence, community energy distribution, population growth function and trophic interaction. In addition to a new way of defining information entropy, I introduced to the classic framework of MaxEnt an element that represents individual variability within each species, i.e. individual distinguishability, which has been believed to be key to solving the unexplained variations in population and community dynamics, and which indeed greatly expands the predictions far beyond those of the existing ecological theories. A diversity of datasets across taxa and biomes will be used to test the theory.
Yu J. Zhang, John Harte, 2015. “Demographics and competitive outcomes derive from resource allocation statistics: the governing influence of distinguishability of individuals”, Theoretical Population Biology
Zhang, Y.J., Harte John Ecological Society of America 2015, “Resource-constrained population dynamics derive from maximizing allocation microstates”, Baltimore Convention Center, MD
(invited) Zhang, Y.J. Berkeley Initiative of Global Change Biology Workshop 2014. “From atom to ecosystem: population demographics and species coexistence based on Bose-Einstein statistics” Berkeley, CA
Zhang, Y.J. Graduate Student Symposium 2013. “Linking spatial distribution to functional traits” Berkeley, CA
(invited) Zhang, Y.J. Workshop on Frontiers of Macroecological theory, 2013. “Systematic model deviations due to probabilistic transitions of state variables” Berkeley, CA