Yichao Zeng

Yichao Zeng

Wiens Lab

Office/Lab Location: BSW 136

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  • Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona (2019–Present)
  • M.Sc. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida (2017–2019)
  • B.S. in Biological Sicence, Peking University (2013–2017)

Research Interests: 

I am broadly interested in ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation biology. For my Ph.D., I am particularly interested in the intersection of species interactions and macroevolution. My past projects have included (1) investigating traditionally overlooked anthropogenic threats to giant pandas in Southwest China; (2) looking for broad-scale generalities in the effects of interspecific interactions on species diversification. I have also participated in other projects that resulted in publications. Those include (1) using deep learning to identify panda individuals; (2) developing new phylogenomic methods that directly utilize genotype data.


  • Yang, L. H., K. Swan, E. Bastin, J. Aguilar, M. Cenzer, A. Codd, N. Gonzalez, T. Hayes, A. Higgins, X. Lor, C. Macharaga, M. McMunn, K. Oto, N. Winarto, D. Wong, T. Yang, N. Afridi, S. Aguilar, A. Allison, A. Ambrose-Winters, E. Amescua, M. Apse, N. Avoce, K. Bastin, E. Bolander, J. Burroughs, C. Cabrera, M. Candy, A. Cavett, M. Cavett, L. Chang, M. Claret, D. Coleman, J. Concha, P. Danzer, J. DaRosa, A. Dufresne, C. Duisenberg, A. Earl, E. Eckey, M. English, A. Espejo, E. Faith, A. Fang, A. Gamez, J. Garcini, J. Garcini, G. Gilbert-Igelsrud, K. Goedde-Matthews, S. Grahn, P. Guerra, V. Guerra, M. Hagedorn, K. Hall, G. Hall, J. Hammond, C. Hargadon, V. Henley, S. Hinesley, C. Jacobs, C. Johnson, T. Johnson, Z. Johnson, E. Juchau, C. Kaplan, A. Katznelson, R. Keeley, T. Kubik, T. Lam, C. Lansing, A. Lara, V. Le, B. Lee, K. Lee, M. Lemmo, S. Lucio, A. Luo, S. Malakzay, L. Mangney, J. Martin, W. Matern, B. McConnell, M. McHale, G. McIsaac, C. McLennan, S. Milbrodt, M. Mohammed, M. Mooney-McCarthy, L. Morgan, C. Mullin, S. Needles, K. Nunes, F. O’Keeffe, O. O’Keeffe, G. Osgood, J. Padilla, S. Padilla, I. Palacio, V. Panelli, K. Paulson, J. Pearson, T. Perez, B. Phrakonekham, I. Pitsillides, A. Preisler, N. Preisler, H. Ramirez, S. Ransom, C. Renaud, T. Rocha, H. Saris, R. Schemrich, L. Schoenig, S. Sears, A. Sharma, J. Siu, M. Spangler, S. Standefer, K. Strickland, M. Stritzel, E. Talbert, S. Taylor, E. Thomsen, K. Toups, K. Tran, H. Tran, M. Tuqiri, S. Valdes, G. VanVorhis, S. Vue, S. Wallace, J. Whipple, P. Yang, M. Ye, D. Yo, and Y. Zeng, 2022. Different factors limit early- and late-season windows of opportunity for monarch development. Ecology and Evolution, 12, pp. e9039.
  • Sanderson, M.J., A. Búrquez, D. Copetti, M.M. McMahon, Y. Zeng, M.F. Wojciechowski, 2022. Origin and diversification of the saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea): a within-species phylogenomic analysis. Systematic Biology, 71(5), pp. 1178–1194.
  • Zeng, Y., J.J. Wiens, 2021. Do mutualistic interactions last longer than antagonistic interactions? Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B, 288, pp. 20211457.
  • Hou, J., V. Hull, T. Connor, H. Yang, J. Gao, F. Zhao, Y. Liao, S. Chen, J. Huang, Y. Zeng, and S. Zhou, 2021. Scent communication behavior by giant pandas. Global Ecology and Conservation, 25, p.e01431. ​
  • Zeng, Y., J.J. Wiens, 2020. Species interactions have predictable impacts on diversification. Ecology Letters, 24(2), pp. 239-248.
  • Hou, J., Y. He, H. Yang, T. Connor, J. Gao, Y. Wang, Y. Zeng, J. Zhang, J, Huang, B. Zheng. and S. Zhou, 2020. Identification of animal individuals using deep learning: A case study of giant panda. Biological Conservation, 242, p.108414.
  • Zeng, Y., J. Zhang. and V. Hull, 2019. Mixed‐method study on medicinal herb collection in relation to wildlife conservation: the case of giant pandas in China. Integrative Zoology, 14(6), pp.604-612.