Grad students conduct world-class research with top researchers

wetland researcher with graduate student

Graduate students at North Dakota State University conduct world-class research with top researchers in their fields.

Yuxiang Yuan just completed a joint-doctorate in biological sciences and plans to stay at NDSU as a post-doctoral researcher. He researches wetlands with Marinus Otte, professor of biological sciences. Otte is editor-in-chief of “Wetlands,” an international scientific journal, and leads the wet ecosystem ecology research group at NDSU.

Otte and Yuan are conducting research in the Prairie Pothole region of eastern North Dakota. They are building evidence that it takes a long time, if ever, to return an altered wetland to its original state. They also are finding evidence that wetlands can be connected in ways that may not be visible. Their work has the potential to affect what wetlands are legally protected in the United States and around the world.

Their research will contribute to the body of knowledge on wetland conservation and restoration, which is critical because of the huge demand for water for everyday life, food production and industry. Wetlands are important because they are major wildlife habitats, especially for water fowl. They also serve as water storage and nature’s soil and water cleansers.

Yuan grew up in a small village in China where his parents were farmers. He studied animal science as an undergraduate and hydrobiology as a master’s student.

As a future scientist, he wanted to learn from international researchers and to gain experience with technology used in other parts of the world. His doctoral adviser at the Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, connected him with Otte and NDSU.

Yuan is on his way to becoming a wetland expert as he works alongside a top researcher in his field in a state with more than 1 million wetlands.

NDSU is listed on U.S. News and World Report’s inaugural list of Top Universities for International Students. Explore graduate programs at NDSU.

aerial view of the Prairie Pothole wetland region in ND