Research Interest 

  • Alpine treelines
  • Functional Tree Physiology
  • Low Temperature Physiology


Low temperatures are the main drivers behind the upper elevational and higher latitudinal distribution range of trees. Alpine treeline is traditionally in the focus of most studies on the effect of low temperature limits of trees, but in fact, all other tree species that reach their distribution limits below the treeline also have species-specific low-temperature limits. In this project, I focus on cold (above-freezing) root temperature effects on water-uptake, C-relations and growth in temperate tree species by dual stable isotope pulse-labelling with 2H-H2O and 13C-CO2. Investigations of several tree species differing in their natural elevational distribution limits will aim to clarify, if restricted water uptake in cool soils might help to explain the different low temperature limits among species.  I will further explore the mechanism behind the observed growth restriction of trees induced by drought-like stress at cold soils within a series of short-term and long-term acclimatization experiments. The expected results of my project will provide basic information for climate-growth models of trees and will contribute quantitative data for mechanistic tree species distribution models. 


2019-ongoing PhD student in the Physiological Plant Ecology group, University of Basel, Switzerland
2014-2017 M.Sc. in Agriculture at the College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and Technology, Lanzhou University, China
2009-2013 B.Sc. in Agriculture at the School of Agriculture, Ningxia University, China


Yating Li

University of Basel
Schönbeinstrasse 6
4056 Basel

Office No.: 01.001