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UF/IFAS RCREC Graduate Student Highlight: Yanyan Lu

By: Bethany Wight, Biologist
UF/IFAS Range Cattle Research and Education Center

Yanyan Lu

Yanyan Lu grew up in the city of Shijiazhuang in the Hebei province of northern China which is located near Beijing. Although Hebei is the sixth most populous province in China, Yanyan grew up in a small community. Growing up Yanyan has memories of going to school and playing with her friends in the community.

Soil profile showing the different horizons at UF/IFAS RCREC Field Day in October 2019.

Yanyan attended the Hebei Agricultural University in Baoding where she earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science in 2011. This led her into a master’s program at the ShanDong Agricultural University located at the foot of world-famous Mt. Tai. Here she conducted research on slow release fertilizer on corn and earned her master’s degree in soil science in 2013.

After completing her master’s degree Yanyan worked at the Mutianyu Environmental Company in Shijiazhuang for a year evaluating the environmental impacts of various industries’ factories.

“In China, before you can open a new factory, for making clothes or chemicals, you have to ask a professional institute to evaluate the potential contamination to air, soil, and water and suggest ways to limit those impacts.”

Dr. Maria Silveira and Yanyan Lu

Having a background in soil and environmental science Yanyan began researching top institutions in the United States in the field of soil scinece. In 2016, Yanyan was admitted into her PhD program in Soil and Water Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Maria Silveira.

Greenhouse gas chambers on experimental plots at the UF/IFAS RCREC.

Yanyan’s PhD research focuses on evaluating the agronomic and environmental impacts of biosolids and biochar applications to pastures in Florida. Combining field and laboratory studies, she is examining how soil nutrient cycling (Carbon and Nitrogen dynamics), water quality (mainly Nitrogen and Phosphorus losses), greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, CH4, and N2O), and forage responses (herbage accumulation and nutritive value) are influenced by different soil nutrient management strategies. Soil samples are collected annually and examined using a range of laboratory techniques. Water and gas samples are collected more frequently. Gas samples are evaluated using a Gas chromatography – mass spectrometry method which identifies and quantifies different substances.

“I hope the results from my research will generate important science-based information that will help land owners and regulatory agencies make informed decisions regarding nutrient management in ecologically sensitive ecosystems in Florida.”

Land application of biosolids on an experimental plot at the  UF/IFAS RCREC.

Yanyan completed her PhD research and successfully completed her dissertation defense in February 2020. She will officially graduate in May of 2020 and is planning to move onto a postdoctoral position in the United States. When Yanyan is not conducting research, she enjoys exercising and getting extra sleep.

Yanyan Lu, Dr. Maria Silveira and Research Scholar Amanda Baldo after a day applying biochar to experimental plots.

“In the future I want to be a professor, working in a university in China conducting research and teaching students about soil science.”

Yanyan Lu’s research is made possible by support from the Florida Cattle Enhancement funds, Florida Cattlemen’s Association, Staff and students at the RCREC, H&H Liquid and Sludge Disposal, Inc. and other collaborators.


Bethany Wight

This was written by Bethany Wight, a biological scientist at the UF/IFAS Range Cattle REC in Ona, FL. If you have questions please contact her at bwight@ufl.edu. For more information on the UF/IFAS Range Cattle REC Soil and Water Science Program, visit https://rcrec-ona.ifas.ufl.edu/soil-and-water-sciences/

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