Ecologie comparative des organismes, des communautés et des écosystèmes

Yamei CHEN

My scientific interests are about how does the diversity of litters and plant litter traits drive carbon storage and nutrient release in soils and how does the diversity of litters influence the extracellular enzyme activity and microbial community structure in soils. I am also interested in the stoichiometry relationship between soil organic matter, microbial community, and extracellular enzyme activity.

My thesis under the supervision of Jian ZHANG at Sichuan Agricultural University in China focuses on the effects of plant litter diversity on extracellular enzyme activity and microbial community structure in the process of litter decomposition in an alpine forest-tundra ecotone.

As a joint PhD student at CEFE, under the supervision of Grégoire FRESCHET, I participate in a project evaluating how the identity and diversity of plant litter determine ecosystem functioning. Particularly, my research deals with how the (functional and phylogenetic) diversity of plant litter mixtures influences the interactions of organic matter with microbial communities and eventually the fate of C, N and P in soils. A litter decomposition experiment is set up in controlled (microcosm) conditions with isotopically labelled litters involving contrasting litter qualities and litter mixtures.

Keywords: plant litter diversity, plant litter traits, litter decomposition, soil organic matter dynamics, soil enzyme activity, microbial community structure


  1. Zheng HF, Liu Y*, Zhang J, et al. Factors influencing soil enzyme activity in China’s forest ecosystems. Plant Ecology, 2017:1-14.
  2. Liu Y, Chen YM, Zhang J, et al. Changes in foliar litter decomposition of woody plants with elevation across an alpine forest–tundra ecotone in eastern Tibet Plateau. Plant Ecology, 2016, 217:495-504.