Yanxu Zhang

Ph.D., Professor


Research Interest

The research focus of Prof. Zhang is the biogeochemistry of persistent contaminants (e.g. mercury, POPs, and microplastics) in the environment (e.g. atmosphere, oceans, soils, rivers, and the ecosystems therein). He combines mechanistic knowledge and observational data to develop numerical models for different environmental compartments and their interfaces. These models are applied at both regional and global scales to characterize how anthropogenic emissions and changing climate impact the environmental quality and human health. He also measures pollutant concentrations and fluxes in environmental samples for model evaluation. Current projects include mercury cycling, global change and persistent contaminants, Earth system modeling, and microplastics in marine environment.


Ph.D. Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, 2013

Ph.D. School of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, 2010

B.S. School of Environment, Peking University, 2006

Professional Experience

Professor, School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Present

Postdoc, School of Engineering and Atmospheric Sciences, Harvard University, 2013-2017

Awards and Professional Activities

Steering Committee Member of GEOS-Chem model, 2019

Co-chair of Mercury/POPs Working Group, GEOS-Chem, 2019

Jiangsu Innovative and Entrepreneurial Talents Plan, 2018

National Excellent Doctoral Thesis Award, 2012

Selected Publications

·Yujuan Wang, Peipei Wu, Yanxu Zhang*. Climate-driven changes of global marine mercury cycles in 2100. PNAS, 120(1), 2023

·Qingru Wu#; Yanxu Zhang#; Ping Li*; Xuewu Fu; Qianggong Zhang; Xun Wang; Long Chen; Shuxiao Wang; Feiyue Wang; Xinbin Feng. Ecosystem Mercury Recovery and Health Benefit Under the Minamata Convention in a Changing Climate. Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 260, no. 1 (2022) 

· Rong Tang, Jing Zhao, Yifan Liu, Xin Huang, Yanxu Zhang, Derong Zhou, Aijun Ding, Chris P. Nielsen & Haikun Wang. Air quality and health co-benefits of China’s carbon dioxide emissions peaking before 2030.  Nat Commun 13, 1008 (2022). 

· Qiaotong Pang#, Jing Gu#, Haikun Wang, Yanxu Zhang*. Global Health Impact of Atmospheric Mercury Emissions from Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining. iScience 25, 104881, 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2022.104881. 

· Zhengcheng Song, Ruoyu Sun, and Yanxu Zhang*. Modeling Mercury Isotopic Fractionation in the Atmosphere. Environmental Pollution 307 (2022): 119588. 

· Yiming Peng#, Peipei Wu#, Amina T. Schartup, Yanxu Zhang*. Plastic waste release caused by COVID-19 and its fate in the global ocean. PNAS. Nov 2021, 118 (47); DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2111530118. 

· Yanxu Zhang*; Zhengcheng Song; Shaojian Huang; Peng Zhang; Yiming Peng; Peipei Wu; Jing Gu; Stephanie Dutkiewicz; Huanxin Zhang; Shiliang Wu; Feiyue Wang; Long Chen; Shuxiao Wang; Ping Li. Global health effects of future atmospheric mercury emissions. Nature Communications. 2021, 12(1). 

· Yanxu Zhang; Stephanie Dutkiewicz; Elsie M. Sunderland. Impacts of climate change on methylmercury formation and bioaccumulation in the 21st century ocean. One Earth. 2021, 4(2), 279-288. 

· Peipei Wu, Stephanie Dutkiewicz, Erwan Monier, Yanxu Zhang*. Bottom-heavy trophic pyramids impair methylmercury biomagnification in the marine plankton ecosystems. Environmental Science & Technology. 2021. 

· Ruoyu Sun, Jingjing Yuan, Jeroen E. Sonke, Yanxu Zhang, Tong Zhang, Wang Zheng, Shun Chen, Mei Meng, Jiubin Chen, Yi Liu, Xiaotong Peng, Congqiang Liu. Methylmercury produced in upper oceans accumulates in deep Mariana Trench fauna. Nature Comm, 2020, 11(1). 

· Yanxu Zhang, Anne L. Soerensenfu, Amina T. Schartup, Elsie M. Sunderland. A global model for methylmercury formation and uptake at the base of marine food webs. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 34(3), doi:10.1029/2019GB006348, 2020. 

· Peipei Wu; Emily J. Zakem; Stephanie Dutkiewicz; Yanxu Zhang*. Biomagnification of Methylmercury in a Marine Plankton Ecosystem. Environmental Science & Technology. 2020, 54(9), 5446-5455. 

· Zhang Y., H. Horowitz, J. Wang, Z. Xie, J. Kuss, A. L. Soerensen. A coupled atmosphere-ocean model for air-sea exchange of mercury in the global ocean: Insights into wet deposition and atmospheric redox chemistry. Environ. Sci. Technol. doi:10.1021/acs.est.8b06205, 2019. 

· Long Chen, Sai Liang, Maodian Liu, Yujun Yi, Zhifu Mi, Yanxu Zhang, Yumeng Li, Jianchuan Qi, Jing Meng, Xi Tang, Haoran Zhang, Yindong Tong, Wei Zhang, Xuejun Wang, Jiong Shu, Zhifeng Yang. Trans-provincial health impacts of atmospheric mercury emissions in China. Nature Communications. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-09080-6, 2019. 

· Wang H., Zhang Y., Lu X. Trade-driven relocation of air pollution and health impacts in China. Nature Comm. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-00918-5, 2017. Highlighted by [Nanjing University]  

· Zhang Y., D. Jacob, H. Horowitz, H. Amos, L. Chen, H. Amos, D. Krabbenhoft, F. Slemr, V. St. Louis, E. Sunderland. Observed decrease in atmospheric mercury explained by global decline in anthropogenic emissions. PNAS., doi:10.1073/pnas.1516312113, 2016. Highlighted by [PNAS metrics] [Harvard University] [USGS] [Reuters] [Ars Technica] [Daily Caller] [Japan Times] [Science World Report] 

· Zhang Y., E. Sunderland, S. Dutkiewicz, D. Jacob, H. Amos. Biogeochemical drivers of the fate of riverine mercury discharged to the global and Arctic oceans. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. doi:10.1002/2015GB005124, 2015. [highlighted as featured study by MITgcm Homepage] 

· Long Chen#, Yanxu Zhang*, Daniel J. Jacob,Anne L. Soerensen, Jenny A. Fisher, Helen M. Amos, Hannah M. Horowitz, Elizabeth S. Corbitt, and Xuejun Wang. Differences in Atmospheric Mercury Trends between the Arctic and Northern Mid-latitudes Suggest A Decline in the Arctic Ocean Mercury. Geophysical Research Letters. doi:10.1002/2015GL064051, 2015.  [highlighted as AGU Blogosphere] 

· Zhang Y., L. Jaegle, L. Thompson, D. G. Streets. Six centuries of changing oceanic mercury. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 10.1002/2014GB004939, 2014. [cover article] 

· Yanxu Zhang, Lyatt Jaegle, and LuAnne Thompson. Natural biogeochemical cycle of mercury in a global three-dimensional ocean tracer model. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. doi:10.1029/2014GB004814, 2014  [highlighted by AGU Eos] 

· Yanxu Zhang, and Lyatt Jaegle. Decreases in mercury wet deposition over the United States during 2004-2010: Roles of domestic and global background emission reductions. Atmosphere. 4, 113-131, 2013. 

· Yanxu Zhang, Lyatt Jaegle, Randall Martin, Aaron van Donkelaar, Chris Holmes, Helen Amos. Nested-grid modeling of mercury over North America. Atmos. Chem. Physics. 12: 6095-6011, 2012. 

· Yanxu Zhang, Shu Tao, Jianmin Ma, and Staci Simonich. Transpacific transport of Benzo[a]pyrene emitted from Asia. Atmos. Chem. Phys. , 11, 11993-12006, 2011. 

· Yanxu Zhang, Huizhong Shen, Shu Tao, and Jianmin Ma. Modeling the atmospheric transport and outflow of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons emitted from China. Atmospheric Environment 45:2820-2827, 2011. 

· Yanxu Zhang, Shu Tao, Huizhong Shen, Jianmin Ma. Inhalation exposure to ambient polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and lung cancer risk of Chinese population. PNAS. 106(50):21063-21067, 2009. 

· Yanxu Zhang, Shu Tao. Global atmospheric emission inventory of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) for 2004. Atmos. Environ. 43:812-819, 2009. [Most Cited Atmospheric Environ. Articles published since 2008] 

  • Contact us
    (86)-25-89683084 (fax)

  • Atmospheric Sciences Building
    Nanjing University · Xianlin Campus
    163 Xianlin Road, Qixia District
    Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, 210023