The Federation Of Chinese Scholars In Australia


XU Zhihong

Birth Year 1960
Position Director - Environmental Futures Centre and Professor of Plant-Soil system, School of Bio-molecular and Physical Sciences
Professional / Institution Affiliation and address
Environmental Futures Centre and School of Biomolecular and Physical Sciences, Griffith University, Nathan, Brisbane, Queensland 4111, Australia
Telephone + 61-7-3735 3822
Mobile 0408 749 800

II. CAREER SUMMARY (Education and employment history, List major past positions and current positions):
Education and Qualifications
1991 PhD in Environmental Science, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
1984 M.Sc. in Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Nanjing, China
1982 B.Sc. in Chemistry, Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang, China
Employment History
2009-2012 Director, Environmental Futures Centre, Griffith University, Nathan, Brisbane, Australia.
2006-2012 Professor, School of Biomolecular & Physical Sciences, Griffith University, Nathan, Brisbane, Australia
2005-2009 Director – Centre for Forestry and Horticultural Research, Griffith University, Nathan, Brisbane, Australia.
2004-2005 Research Chair (Professor) in Forest Soil and Ecosystem Management, Australian School of Environmental Studies, Griffith University, Nathan, Brisbane, Australia
1993-2003 Research Scientist / Senior Research Scientist / Principal Research Scientist, Soils and Nutrition Section, Queensland Forestry Research Institute, Indooroopilly, Brisbane, Australia
1991-1992 Senior Research Officer, Soil Organic Matter Sub-program, Soil Structure and Fertility Program, Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Soil and Land Management, Adelaide, South Australia
1990-1991 Senior Research Officer, Nitrogen Nutrition of Cereals, Soil and Plant Nutrition Section, Northfield Research Laboratories, South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), Adelaide, South Australia.
1985-1986 Research Associate, Department of Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, P.R. China.

2002 Australian Academy of Science Travelling Fellowship
1986 Chinese Academy of Sciences Overseas Travelling Fellowship
Honors and Awards
2011- Guest Professor, Nankai University, Tianjing, China.
2009- Adjunct Professor, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shengyang, China
2007- Adjunct Professor, Institute of Soil Science , Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, China
2006- Adjunct Professor, Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China
2005- Adjunct Professor, Research Centre for Eco-environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
2005- Adjunct Professor, Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu, China
2005- Adjunct Professor, Zhejiang Forestry University, Zhejiang Province, China
2008- Guest Professor, Guizhou Teachers College and Guiyang College, P. R. China
1999- Adjunct / Guest Professor, College of Environmental Science and Natural Resource, Zhejiang University, China

2012 Member of the Engineering and Environmental Sciences Research Evaluation Committee (REC) of the Australian Research Council (ARC)
2012- Academic Editor, On-line Public Access Journal – PeerJ
2008-2010 Member of the ARC College of Experts
2007- Editorial Board of the international journal – Pedosphere (SCI IF 2010: 0.978)
2006- Chair for the Forest Soils Working Group of International Union of Soil Science (IUSS)
2006- Editor of international journal – Environmental Science & Pollution Research (SCI IF 2010: 2.870)
2005- Consulting Editor of the international journal - Plant and Soil (SCI IF 2010: 2.773)
2005- Editor-in-Chief (Soils) of the international journal – Journal of Soils and Sediments (SCI IF 2010: 2.574 and No. 3 in the 32 soil science according to the SCI IF 2010)
2005- Overseas Correspondence Assessor for Selection of the prestigious Outstanding Professorships – “Changjiang Scholars Program” with the Chinese Leading Universities under the China Ministry of Education (2005 - )
2004- Overseas Assessor of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

Prof. Xu has published 228 refereed journal and conference papers (including 170 journal papers) and 2 books, with 83 refereed papers (including 79 journal papers) in the past 5 years since 2008. Most of Prof. Xu’s research papers have been published in leading soil science, forestry and environmental science journals, with about 87% published in the leading journals (with 2010 SCI IF > 2.0) during the last 5 years. Prof. Xu has secured more than $20M of external funding support, with most coming from national competitive grants (including 9 ARC Linkage grants, 3 ARC LIEF grants and 3 ARC Discovery grants). Prof. Xu has sustained an excellent track record of successfully completing major national and international collaborative research and development projects. Prof. Xu is currently co-supervisor of 5 postdoctoral and research fellows, 10 PhD students, 3 research assistants and 5 visiting scientists, with 20 postdoctoral research fellows, 13 PhD and 1 M.Ph. students, 16 visiting scientists and 4 honours students successfully completing their projects under his co-supervision.

Prof. Xu has been invited to be a keynote or plenary speaker at many national symposia and workshops. For example; (i) he was invited to talk on Climate Change and Sustainable Forest Management at the China-Australia Symposium on Sustainable Global Ecosystems, 8-10 August 2007, hosted by the Australian Academy of Science (AAS), Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS); and (ii) he played a key role in organizing the 1st and 2nd Australia – China Workshop on Climate Change Adaptation Research in Beijing (27 October 2007) and in Brisbane (28 November 2008), hosted by the CAS and Griffith University respectively. Prof. Xu has been invited regularly to assess Full and Associate Professorship applications by Australian and overseas universities, and to assess many national competitive grant applications as requested by funding agencies (e.g. ARC).

Prof. Xu has been invited to be a keynote or plenary speaker at many international symposia and workshops. For example, he was invited as a plenary speaker to the International Conference on Environment: Survival and Sustainability, 19-24 February 2007, Nicosia, Cyprus. He also served as Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the International Symposium on Forest Soils and Ecosystem Health: Linking Local Management to Global Change Challenges, 19-23 August 2007, Noosa, Queensland. He chaired major forest soil symposia at the 18th IUSS World Congress of Soil Science, 9-15 July 2006, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, and 19th World Congress of Soil Science, 1-6 August 2010, Brisbane. Prof. Xu is an international leader in the development and application of advanced technologies and innovative approaches for linking the important biogeochemical cycles of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) to the productivity and biodiversity of forest ecosystems in the context of climate change and land management. He has developed and applied innovative stable isotope, biomolecular and physiological techniques to assess the genetic and environmental controls of plant water and N use efficiency.

Prof. Xu pioneered the use of 15N tracing technologies to study N cycling in a leucaena-maize alley cropping in northern Australia and in maize and wheat production systems in northern China. He showed that leucaena hedge rows could fix up to 150-300 kg N/ha annually through symbiotic N fixation, and that leucaena prunings could provide substantial plant available N through mineralization to the alley maize crops. This meant that the leucaena alley cropping system would provide significant amounts of available N for plant uptake, and has the potential to conserve long-term soil N fertility in the semiarid tropical environment of northern Australia. In the northern China study, N deficiency was identified as a major factor limiting maize and wheat grain yield production, and both crop residue N and residual fertilizer N in the soil could provide significant amounts of available N for subsequent cereal crops in the rotation.

From the results of his >140 field experiments, assessing the impacts of fertilizer N, crop rotations, soil types and rainfall on N nutrition, grain yield and protein content of wheat and barley in the cereal zones of South Australia, Prof. Xu developed a computer-based decision support system – TOPNRATE. This decision support system resulted in improved cereal grain yield and quality, and the increased and economically profitable use of fertilizer N by many South Australian farmers.

Prof. Xu was the first to use 14N-NMR to study soil humic acid and discovered the surprising existence of nitrate in soil humic acid. He showed that humic acid nitrate is a significant part of total N in soil, is biologically active, controls soil N availability and is responsive to ecosystem management such as residue retention and fuel reduction burning in contrasting forest ecosystems. This novel research finding has challenged the traditional thinking that soil humic acid is organic, chemically and biologically stable, and much less responsive to environmental and management changes.

VI. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF YOUR MOST IMPORTANT PUBLICATIONS (publication number, impact and citations): 600 refereed journal papers, 13000 citation and h-index = 50
Best ten publications:
2006 Bastias BA, Xu ZH and Cairney JWG 2006 Influence of long-term repeated prescribed burning on mycelia communities of ectomycorrhizal fungi determined by DGGE profiling of DNA from hyphal ingrowth bags. New Phytol. 172, 149-158
2007 Burton J, Chen CR, Xu ZH and Ghadiri H 2007 Gross nitrogen transformations in adjacent native and plantation forests of subtropical Australia. Soil Biol. Biochem. 39, 426-433.
2004 Chen CR, Xu ZH and Mathers NJ 2004 Soil carbon pools in adjacent natural and plantation forests of subtropical Australia. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 68, 282-291.
2005 He JZ, Xu ZH and Hughes J 2005 Soil fungal communities in adjacent natural forest and hoop pine plantation ecosystems as revealed by molecular approaches based on 18S rRNA genes. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 247, 91-100.
2006 He JZ, Xu ZH and Hughes J 2006 Molecular bacterial diversity of a forest soil under residue management regimes in subtropical Australia. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 55, 38-47.
2008 Huang ZQ, Xu ZH, Blumfield TJ and Bubb KA 2008 Foliar δ13C and δ18O reveal differential physiological responses of canopy foliage to pre-planting weed control in a young spotted gum (Corymbia citriodora) plantation. Tree Physiol. 28, 1535-1543.
1993 Xu ZH, Saffigna PG, Myers RJK and Chapman AL 1993 Nitrogen cycling in leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala) alley cropping in semi-arid tropics. I. Mineralization of nitrogen from leucaena residues. Plant Soil 148, 63 - 72.
2000 Prasolova NV, Xu ZH, Farquhar GD, Saffigna PG and Dieters MJ 2000 Variation in canopy δ13C of 8-yearold hoop pine families (Araucaria cunninghamii) in relation to canopy nitrogen concentration and tree growth in subtropical Australia. Tree Physiol. 20, 1049-1055.
2000 Xu ZH, Saffigna PG, Farquhar GD, Simpson JA, Haines RJ, Walker S, Osborne DO and Guinto D 2000 Carbon isotope discrimination and oxygen isotope composition in clones of the F1 hybrid between slash pine (Pinus elliottii) and Caribbean pine (P. caribaea) in relation to tree growth, water-use efficiency and foliar nutrient concentration in subtropical Australia. Tree Physiol. 20, 1209-1217.
2008 Xu ZH, Ward S, Chen CR, Blumfield T, Prasolova NV and Liu JX 2008 Soil carbon and nutrient pools, microbial properties and gross nitrogen transformations in adjacent natural forest and hoop pine plantations of subtropical Australia. J. Soils Sediments 8, 99-105.

Carbon (C) and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems Innovative stable isotope, biomolecular and physiological technologies
Advanced stable isotope, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and biomolecular technologies Soil fertility, plant nutrition and climate change

VIII. VISIONS (related to China and Australia from the area of expertise):
Prof. Xu has recently initiated a major international collaborative research study using novel tree ring technologies to assess and quantify the impact of climate change, particularly complex atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), temperature and water interactions, on plant photosynthesis and tree growth as well as long-term water use efficiency and productivity of forest ecosystems in central Europe and southern China. The recent exciting tree ring research findings have shown for the first time that tree growth of beech and oak in central Europe responded non-linearly to rising CO2 and water limitation due to increasing mean annual temperature and decreasing summer rainfall during 1840s–1990s.

Prof. Xu developed, and was the first to use in Australia, advanced stable isotope, NMR and DNA-based technologies to study the impacts of forest management (such as harvest residue, site preparation and weed control) and climate change (particularly warming and elevated atmospheric C dioxide concentration) on the important C and N cycling processes. He showed that labile C pools (such as hot water extractable and O-alkyl C), and humic acid nitrate, and hot water extractable and mineralizable N are very sensitive to forest management practices and environmental changes. He also showed that soil bacterial and fungal diversity and functions are responsive to both management practices (e.g. different land uses) and climate change. This has resulted in major economical, environmental and social benefits to the forestry plantation industry in Queensland in particular and Australia in general. Prof. Xu’s studies on land use, weed control, and harvest residue management highlighted the importance of harvest residue retention in both exotic pine and native hoop pine plantations, and the requirement of effective weed control for the first 18 months in native hardwood plantations in southeast Queensland. He was also the first to identify the need to apply fertilizer N to enhance the productivity and profitability of the second rotation hoop pine plantations.