Lirong Cai


Scientific profile


I am interested in patterns and underlying drivers of plant diversity and compositions at large scales, especially accounting for evolutionary history. Integrating information on evolutionary history of lineages into biodiversity assessments provides insights into biogeographic and evolutionary mechanisms underlying biodiversity, and is of paramount importance for biodiversity conservation.

Scientific career


September 2023 - Present: Postdoctoral Researcher at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig; Project “Effect of non-native flora on natural biogeographic regionalization of global flora”; Research supervisor: Dr. Marten Winter.
2018 - 2023: PhD at University of Göttingen; PhD thesis " Phylogenetic history and global diversity patterns of plants "; Supervisors: Prof. Holger Kreft and Dr. Patrick Weigelt.
2014 - 2017: M.Sc. in Ecology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences.
2010 - 2014: B.Sc. in Biology, Hangzhou Normal University.

Selected publications


Cai, L., Kreft, H., Taylor, A., Schrader, J., Dawson, W., Essl, F., van Kleunen, M., Pergl, J., Pyšek, P., Winter, M. and Weigelt, P., 2023. Climatic stability and geological history shape global centers of neo-and paleoendemism in seed plants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 120(30), p.e2300981120.

Cai, L., Kreft, H., Taylor, A., Denelle, P., Schrader, J., Essl, F., van Kleunen, M., Pergl, J., Pyšek, P., Stein, A., Winter, M., Barcelona, J. F., Fuentes, N., Inderjit, Karger, D. N., Kartesz, J., Kuprijanov, A., Nishino, M., Nickrent, D., … Weigelt, P., 2023. Global models and predictions of plant diversity based on advanced machine learning techniques. New Phytologist, 237(4), pp.1432-1445.

Taylor, A., Weigelt, P., Denelle, P., Cai, L., & Kreft, H. (2023). The contribution of plant life and growth forms to global gradients of vascular plant diversity. New Phytologist.

Taylor, A., Zotz, G., Weigelt, P., Cai, L., Karger, D. N., König, C., & Kreft, H. (2022). Vascular epiphytes contribute disproportionately to global centres of plant diversity. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 31(1), 62-74.

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Puschstraße 4
04103 Leipzig

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+49 341 33176
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Universität Leipzig

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