Biogeochemical cycles of organic carbon and nutrients, particularly nitrogen and biomass residues, in eco-engineered soil from mine wastes and soil spoils at mine sites, in relation to substrate/soil properties and plant physiology.

Yaling's work also focuses on the establishment and development of novel methods and techniques for investigating C and N biogeochemistry in extreme substrates such as extreme soil types, mine wastes and eco-engineered technosols, within the group/program of Ecological Engineering of Mine Wastes.


Mine spoils are not suitable for plant growth because of deficiency of water and essential nutrients, extreme pH, coarse texture and compacted structure. Biomass residues contain large amounts of organic and inorganic nutrients (e.g., nitrogen and phosphorus) which can be released into rhizosphere after decomposition and mineralization.

However, the characteristics of organic matter decomposition and nutrient cycling remain unclear, in extreme substrates, such as tailings, red mud, eco-engineered soil (or technosol). By deploying physical, chemical and molecular methods, the processes and mechanisms of C and N cycling in these extreme materials will be investigated, in relation to soil biology and nutrient supply for plant growth.

2017 Doctor of Philosophy, Soil Science, Griffith University 
2012 Master, Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences
2009 Bachelor, Geochemistry, Lanzhou University


Dr Yaling Zhang’s current research is closely collaborated with some Alumina Refinery Ltds, such as Rio Tinto Alumina, RTA-Yarwun, Queensland Alumina Ltd in Australia. 


Dr Yaling Zhang’s collaboration networks include academic colleagues from other schools and faculties of UQ (e.g., Schools of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural and Food Sciences,  and Chemical Engineering), other Australian Universities (e.g., Griffith University,  University of Western Sydney), as well as Chinese Academy of Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University etc.

Journal Articles

Zhang, Y., Zhang, M., Tang, L. et al. Microbe Ecol (2018). Long-Term Harvest Residue Retention Could Decrease Soil Bacterial Diversities Probably Due to Favouring Oligotrophic Lineages 

Zhang, Y., Drigo, B., Bai, S. H., Menke, C., Zhang, M., & Xu, Z. (2018). Biochar addition induced the same plant responses as elevated CO2 in mine spoil. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 25(2), 1460–1469.

Zhang, M., Bai, S. H., Tang, L., Zhang, Y., Teng, Y., & Xu, Z. (2017). Linking potential nitrification rates, nitrogen cycling genes and soil properties after remediating the agricultural soil contaminated with heavy metal and fungicide. Chemosphere, 184, 892–899.

Zhang, M., Wang, W., Zhang, Y., Teng, Y., & Xu, Z. (2017). Effects of fungicide iprodione and nitrification inhibitor 3, 4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate on soil enzyme and bacterial properties. Science of the Total Environment, 599-600, 254–263.

Zhang, Y., Chen, H., Bai, S. H., Menke, C., Zhang, M., & Xu, Z. (2017). Interactive effects of biochar addition and elevated carbon dioxide concentration on soil carbon and nitrogen pools in mine spoil. Journal of Soils and Sediments, 17(10), 2400–2409.

Zhang, Y., Menke, C., Drigo, B., Bai, S. H., Anderson, I., Xu, Z., … Zhang, M. (2017). Assessing the potential of using biochar in mine rehabilitation under elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration. Journal of Soils and Sediments, 17(10), 2410–2419.

Zhang, M., Teng, Y., Zhang, Y., Ford, R., & Xu, Z. (2016). Effects of nitrification inhibitor 3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate and fungicide iprodione on soil fungal biomass and community: based on internal transcribed spacer region. Journal of Soils and Sediments, 1–9.

Lubing, Hong., Yigang, Xu., Zhongyuan, Ren., Yongsheng, Kuang., Yaling, Zhang., Jie, Li., Fangyue,

Wang., Hong, Zhang. (2012). Petrology, geochemistry and Re-Os isotopes of peridotite xenoliths from

Yantai, Shandong Province: Evidence for Phanerozoic lithospheric mantle beneath eastern North China Craton. Lithos 155: 256-271