Jinlei Zhu's Personal Site

About Me

I am a plant ecologist. I am doing my postdoctoral research at the Institute of Landscape and Plant Ecology, University of Hohenheim.

By far, all my research has been focusing on just one question: How far do seeds move in nature?

Why is this question important? Most obviously, because plants, by definition, can not move voluntarily during their whole life. For seed plants, which constitute the great majority of the kingdom Plantae, the only way to spread their next generations away from themselves is to spread their seeds. Indeed plants are everywhere on planet Earth, and some of them are so successful that they even become invasive. On the other hand, some other plant species are in danger of becoming extinct, because they lack the ability to move away from the deteriorating habitats where they are stuck.

Studying seed movement thus is important. Normally, seeds don't move by themselves—they need to be moved by others. The scientific term, referring to the process of movement of seeds from their parent plant, is "seed dispersal". Seeds of most plant species are dispersed by multiple mechanisms. These mechanisms either involve different vectors (e.g. wind vs. animals) or different ways in which the same vector moves seeds. As an example for the latter, wind can disperse seeds both through the air (primary wind dispersal) or across the ground (secondary wind dispersal). Secondary seed dispersal includes all movement of seeds over the ground, i.e. all the intermittent cycles of move-stop-move, before they germinate or they are trapped permanently. Hence, we don't use the terms "tertiary dispersal", "quaternary dispersal", etc. My study includes both primary and secondary seed dispersal.

Since I started my doctoral study in 2010, I have been working on mechanisms for seed dispersal by wind. To do so, I use wind-tunnel experiments, statistical analyses, and mechanistic models.

Currently, I am working on how seed dispersal by wind responds to environmental stress and intra- and interspecific competition, and how this context-dependence of seed dispersal affects the rate of population spread. To do so, my colleagues and I carry out common garden experiments, and I use mechanistic models to simulate the process of seed dispersal and population spread.

You can also find me on ResearchGate, ORCiD, GitHub, and Twitter.

My Latest Publication

We have just published a paper, and you can read the full-text: A trade-off between primary and secondary seed dispersal by wind, and the relevant R codes.


For more information about me and my publications, please refer to my CV.

My Hobbies

Outside the office, I


Jinlei Zhu
Institute of Landscape and Plant Ecology - 320A
University of Hohenheim
August-von-Hartmann-Str. 3, Room 030
D-70599 Stuttgart, Germany
Tel: +49 (0)711 459 24086
E-mail: jinlei.zhu@uni-hohenheim.de

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