Jinyun Tang Honorable Mention for ESA Award

Jinyun Tang, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Jinyun Tang, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Regional and Global Climate Modeling funded scientist Jinyun Tang, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has been awarded honorable mention for the Gene E. Likens outstanding publication award by the Ecological Society of America (ESA). This award is granted to only one scientist and one honorable mention per year. Recipients must be within five years of receiving their Ph.D. in biogeosciences and environmental research for work conducted after the completion of graduate school.

Tang, as first author, was chosen for his notable paper in the biogeosciences, “A Total Quasi-steady-state Formulation of Substrate Uptake Kinetics in Complex Networks and an Example Application to Microbial Litter Decomposition.” The paper, published in Biogeosciences, shows a new approach to modeling the resource competition in networks involving many competitors, such as microbial decomposition of soil organic matter and nutrient competition between microbes and plants. Tang’s research, funded through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, shows that the large sensitivity associated with the use of Michaelis-Menten kinetics due to the lack of considering the nonlinear competitive relationships between consumers for substrates. 

A panel reviewer commented, “This is one of the most thorough, mechanistically based, mathematical descriptions of the biogeochemistry of decomposition that I’ve ever read. The mathematical rationale, rigor and logic are formidable.”

Receiving his Ph.D. from Perdue University in 2011, Tang works to design, test, and evaluate numerical models to investigate the feedbacks between land processes and the climate. His primary focus is on terrestrial carbon-nutrient cycling, with an emphasis on designing reaction-based biogeochemical models.

The 2014 ESA Annual Meeting was held August 10-15 in Sacramento, California, and was attended by more than 4,000 people.