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Zhang, Li (PhD)

Asst Dir, Research Programs
The Water School Administration
Phone: 239-325-1364

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Postdoc: wetland sciences at Olentangy River Wetland Research Park, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 2000-2002
Ph.D.: Environmental Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia 2000.

Research and Teaching Interests

Dr. Li Zhang is a native of Chengdu China. She received her Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from The Australian National University, Australia in 2000. She became a post-doctoral researcher at the Olentangy River Wetland Research Park at The Ohio State University in 2000-2002 then Assistant Director there from 2002 to 2012. She joined the Everglades Wetland Research Park at Florida Gulf Coast University's Kapnick Center in Naples Florida as Assistant Director in 2012, where she continued university research, administration, and teaching to this day. Her research focuses on wetland and ecosystem restoration, ecological engineering, ecosystem modeling, and watersheds and GIS modeling. She has travelled extensively around the world for professional meetings and teaching and has research experience in several countries besides the USA such as China, Germany, Australia, and Canada. She serves as peer reviewers for scientific journals: Nature, Hydrology, Ecological Indicators, Ecological Modelling; Wetlands; Ecohydrology; Environmental Quality; Environmental Management; Marine Geodesy, Ecological Engineering; Ecosystems; and Environmental Modelling & Software, etc.

Courses Offered

(as Co-instructor)
• Wetland Ecology – Falls in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020
• Wetland, River, and Coastal Science - Springs in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020


Representative Publications: 
  • Ma, P., L. Zhang, W.J. Mitsch. 2020. Investigating sources and transformations of nitrogen using dual stable isotopes for Lake Okeechobee restoration in Florida. Journal of Ecological Engineering 155:105947.
  • García, J. , A. Solimeno, L. Zhang, D. Marois, W.J. Mitsch. 2020. Constructed wetlands to solve agricultural drainage pollution in South Florida: Development of an advanced simulation tool for design optimization. Journal of Cleaner Production. 
  • Lopardo, C.R., L. Zhang, W. J. Mitsch, and H. Urakawa. 2019. Comparison of nutrient retention efficiency between vertical-flow and floating treatment wetland mesocosms with and without biodegradable plastic. Ecological Engineering 131: 120-130.
  • Cai Y., L. Zhang. 2018. Editorial: Multi-scale ecological indicators for supporting sustainable watershed management. Ecological Indicators 92:1-10.
  • Zhang, L., S. Thomas and W.J. Mitsch. 2017. Design of real-time and long-term hydrologic and water quality wetland monitoring stations in South Florida, USA. Ecological Engineering 108:436-446.
  • Cabezas, A., W.J. Mitsch, C. MacDonnell, L. Zhang, F. Bydalek, and A. Lasso. 2017. Methane emissions from mangrove soils in hydrologically disturbed and reference mangrove tidal creeks in southwest Florida. Ecological Engineering.
  • MacDonnell, C.P, L. Zhang, L. Griffiths, and W.J. Mitsch. 2017. Nutrient concentrations in tidal creeks as indicators of the water quality role of mangrove wetlands in Southwest Florida. Journal of Ecological Indicators 80: 316-326.
  • Marois, D. E. W.J., Mitsch, K. Song, S. Miao, L. Zhang, and C. Nguyen. 2015. Estimating the importance of aquatic primary productivity for phosphorus retention in Florida Everglades mesocosms. Wetlands 35: 357-368.
  • Mitsch, W.J., L. Zhang, D. Marois, and K. Song. 2015. Protecting the Florida Everglades wetlands with wetlands: Can stormwater phosphorus be reduced to oligotrophic conditions? Ecological Engineering 80: 8-19.
  • Mitsch, W.J., L. Zhang, E. Waletzko, and B. Bernal. 2014. Validation of the ecosystem services of created wetlands: Two decades of plant succession, nutrient retention, and carbon sequestration in experimental riverine marshes. Ecological Engineering 72: 11-24.

Graduate Student Thesis Supervision (as Committee Member/ Co-advisor)


  • Cristina Lepardo M.S. 2018 (Environmental Sciences Graduate Program, Florida Gulf Coast University)
  • Taylor Nisbit, M.S. 2018 (Environmental Sciences Graduate Program, Florida Gulf Coast University)
  • Lauren Griffiths, M.S. 2017 (Environmental Sciences Graduate Program, Florida Gulf Coast University)
  • Daniel Dickinson M.S. 2016 (Environmental Sciences Graduate Program, Florida Gulf Coast University)
  • Connor MacDonell, M.S. 2016 (Environmental Sciences Graduate Program, Florida Gulf Coast University)
  • Daniel Marchio, M.S. 2014 (Environmental Sciences Graduate Program, Florida Gulf Coast University)