Lingli’s research addresses the issue of current eco-hydrological models and their ability to predict species-specific response to decreased water availability. Specifically, climate change with warmer temperatures and increased occurrence of seasonal droughts will overlap with the forest succession process, altering the species composition of forests. New forest composition will be impacted by advantages of individual species in hydraulic responses to future drought conditions. Her goal is to determine which species are less likely to be water stressed and thus more successful in drier future conditions. She says, “Besides solving scientific issues, I’m excited to convey the scientific implications of the effects of climate change on forest species to policy makers.”
Lingli’s research is a collaboration between four departments at Michigan – Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences. Rackham has provided a great platform for this to happen.
She is grateful for the Rackham funding that facilitated participation in a collaborative project to propose strategies for governments to adopt climate change policy to protect ecosystems and manage energy demands. “These opportunities make me be a better scientist and leader,” she says.
U-M was an easy destination for this native Chinese graduate student. “I came to U-M because of the academic opportunities and diversity, the student community’s passion and motivation, the strong global alumni network, and because Michigan football rocks!”
Lingli has a vibrant life outside the lab. She offers, “There are so many opportunities for graduate students on campus. On weekends, I participate in Michigan Ballroom dancing events and go rock climbing and backpacking with Outdoor Adventures.” Last winter, she led a team to compete in a global business challenge and won 2nd place. “The team consists of several graduate students from medical school at U-M, and we built a complete business plan for an exciting novel gastric cancer detection system.”
She’s also co-chair of the professional development initiatives in the Graduate Society of Women Engineers on campus, leading opportunities for female engineers to succeed in a supportive environment and further their career in engineering. She’s particularly interested in establishing connections with the vast resources available through the 90,000 plus Rackham alumni network. “There are great opportunities for students there.”
Some of her best experiences as a graduate student involve the opportunities she’s been exposed to when traveling to national or international conferences. “The chance to broadcast technical and scientific implications of my research to a broader, global audience has given me the chance to grow as a scientist and expand my network considerably.”