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Highest Education  
  18 Shuangqing Road, Haidian District, Beijing, China
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Education and Appointments:

Dr. Cao is a Professor in the State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Professor Cao investigatesthe movement of migratory waterbirds in East Asian-Australasian Flyway. In this flyway, climate change, human activities and many other factors are changing distribution and abundance of migratory waterbirds by altering their movement patterns and strategies. Therefore, investigating the mechanism of movement is vital to understanding their population dynamics and predicting future changes. Recent technology innovations in IT and micro-electronics have led to the rapid development of satellite tracking devices and techniques. By deploying cutting-edge transmitting devices, Professor Cao’s group has initiated tracking programs in many sites in and outside China. Professor Cao is also coordinating a national monitoring and research network of bird-tracking in China.

Professor Cao is currently presiding over 10 research projects sponsored by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)and other international cooperative projects.As of June 2017, Professor Cao has published over 50 international journal articles of the fields of Ecology, Ornithology or Multidisciplinary Sciences, including Current Biology, Biological Conservation,Ibis,Ambio,Condor and so on.


Sep2002- Dec2005, Ph.D., Biology, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu, China

Sep 1987-Jun 1991, B.S., Biology, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, Hunan, China

Professional experience

Dec 2013- presentProfessor, State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

Jul 2011- Sep 2011Visiting Professor, Charles Sturt University, Albury, Australia

Dec 2010- Nov 2013Professor, School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, China

Dec2005-Nov2010 Associate professor, School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, China

Research Interest:

Mechanism of environmental changes on bird population dynamics and conservation measures

Public Services:

Associate Editor of Wetlands and Frontiers in Environmental Science since 2016

Associate Editor of Avian Research since 2014

Associate Editor of Bird Conservation International since 2011

Member of the International Ornithologists' Union since 2014

Member of the 10th Council of China Ornithological Society since 2009

Member of IUCN-Wetlands International Goose Specialist Group since 2005

Member of Pacific Seabirds Group since 2004


Awarded “Prize for Threatened Birds and Animals Research”, Gansu Province Natural Science Prize in 2008

Awarded The national five one labor medal in 2012

Awarded “Excellent Woman Prize in Anhui Province” and “Excellent Work Medal in Anhui Province” in 2011

Awarded “Teaching Achievement Award in Anhui Province” in 2011

Awarded University of Science and Technology of China Chancellor Excellent Research Prize in 2009

Awarded The 7th “Cheng Tso-Hsin Ornithological Science Youth Prize” in 2006

Selected Publications:

1.    Yu H, Wang X, Cao L*, Zhang L, Jia Q, Lee H, Xu Z, Liu G, Xu W, Hu B, and Fox AD. 2017. Are declining populations of wild geese in China “prisoners” of their natural habitats? Current Biology 27(10): 376-377.

2.    Zhang L, Wang X, Zhang J, Ouyang Z, Chan S., Crosby M, Watkins D, Martinez J, Su L, Yu Y, Szabo J, Cao L*, and Fox AD. 2017. Formulating a list of sites of waterbird conservation significance to contribute to China’s Ecological Protection Red Line. Bird Conservation International doi:10.1017/S095927091700003X.

3.    Jia Q, Cao L*, Ye´sou H, Huber C, Fox AD. 2016. Combating aggressive macrophyte encroachment on a typical Yangtze River lake: lessons from a long-term remote sensing study of vegetation. Aquatic Ecology51:177-189.

4.    Zhang Y*, Prins HH., Versluijs M, Wessels R, Cao L*, Willem Frederik de Boer. 2016. Experimental Evidence Shows the Importance of Behavioural Plasticity and Body Size under Competition in Waterfowl. PloS ONE 11(10): e0164606.

5.   Yang Y, Zhan A, Cao L*, Meng F, and Xu W. 2016. Selection of a marker gene to construct a reference library for wetland plants, and the application of metabarcoding to analyze the diet of wintering herbivorous waterbirds. Peer J 4: e2345.

6.    Yang Y, Deng Y, and Cao L*. 2016. Characterizing the interspecific variations and convergence of gut microbiota in Anseriformes herbivores at wintering areas. Scientific Reports 6:32655.

7.    Zhang Y, Prins HH., Cao L*, Zhao M, and de Boer WF. 2016. Variation in Elevation and Sward Height Facilitate Coexistence of Goose Species through Allometric Responses in Wetlands. Waterbirds 39(1):34-44.

8.    Zhang Y*, Jia Q, Prins HH., Cao L*, and de Boer WF. 2015. Effect of conservation efforts and ecological variables on waterbird population sizes in wetlands of the Yangtze River. Scientific Reports 5: 17136.

9.    Jia Q, Kazuo K., Chang Y, Kim H., Cao L*, Gao D, and Fox, AD. 2015. Population estimates and geographical distribution of swans and geese in East Asia based on counts during the non-breeding season. Bird Conservation International 26: 397-417.

10.   Zhang Y, Jia Q, Prins HHT, Cao L*, de Boer WF. 2015. Individual-Area Relationship Best Explains Goose Species Density in Wetlands. PloS ONE 10 (5): e0124972.

11.   Zhao M, Cao L*, Klaassen M, Zhang Y, Fox AD. 2015. Avoiding competition? Site use, diet and foraging behaviours in two similarly sized geese wintering in China. Ardea 103: 27-38.

12.   Wang X, Fox AD, Zhuang X, Cao L*, Meng F, Cong P. 2014. Shifting to an energy-poor diet for nitrogen? Not the case for wintering herbivorous Lesser White-fronted Geese in China. Journal of Ornithology 155: 707-712.

13.   Wang X, Fox AD, Cong P, Cao L*. 2013. Food constraints explain distribution of wintering Lesser White-fronted Geese Anser erythropus in China. Ibis 155: 576-592.

Supported Projects:

Jun 2016-Dec 2020 Research and development of key habitat restoration and functional upgrading of migratory waterbirds in degraded freshwater marsh, sub project six of project Studies on the restoration and protection of typical fragile ecosystems, supported by The National Key Research and Development Program of China (No.2016YFC0500406), PI.

Jan 2017-Dec 2019Long-distance avian flyers facing hardship in all cardinal directions: comparing north-south migration of waterbirds along the western and the eastern Palearctic flyways, supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No.31661143027), PI

Jan 2017-Dec 2020Physiological effects on migratory strategies and individual fitness of large Anatidae species in East Asian flyway, supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No.31670424), PI

Jan 2014-Dec 2017The mechanism study of foraging niche separation between three herbivorousgoose species wintering in the Yangtze River wetlands, supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31370416), PI

Apr 2015-Dec 2019Research and demonstration of aquaculture and environmental management, Research and demonstration of lake fishery and water environment regulation technology,sub project two of project demonstration of lake fishery carrying capacity and research of environmental protection fishery technology, supported by The National Key Technology Research and Development Program of China (No.2015BAD13B01)

Aug 2016-Dec 2017Study on risk factors and joint system for controlling highly pathogenic avian influenza in Korea and China, supported by Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, PI

Jan 2016-Dec 2020 Bird Diversity Observation Network of China Biodiversity Observation Networks (SinoBON), supported by Chinese Academy of Sciences

Jul 2015-Jul 2020 Movement Ecology Study, supported by The high-end foreign expert project of State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs P.R. China, PI

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Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100085, People’s Republic of China