Research interest

My research interest is to understand the evolutionary history of biodiversity from the deep geological time to the present, and how earth’s history and evolutionary processes have interacted. I currently focus on the origin and diversification of alpine plants in the Northern Hemisphere and aims to develop integrated approaches to shed light on how the historical factors affect diversity dynamics. 



Postdoc, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL. Work with Niklaus E. Zimmermann.


Research associate, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences



PhD candidate in Evolutionary Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan, China. Supervisor: Prof. Yao-Wu Xing


Field Museum, visiting student. Co-supervisor: Dr. Richard H. Ree



MSc. in Paleoecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan, China. Supervisor: Prof. Zhe-Kun Zhou


Wu MX, Huang J, Spicer RA, Li SF, Zhao JG, Deng WYD, Ding WN, Tang H, Xing YW, Tian YM, Zhou ZK*, Su T*. 2022. The early Oligocene establishment of modern topography and plant diversity on the southeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau. Global and Planetary Change 214: 103856.

Mu QY, Yu CC, Wang Y, Han TS, Wang H, Ding WN, Zhang QY, Low SL, Zheng QJ, Peng C, Hu ZY, Xing YW*. 2022. Comparative phylogeography of Acanthocalyx (Caprifoliaceae) reveals distinct genetic structures in the Himalaya–Hengduan Mountains. Alpine Botany 132: 153–168.

Silvestro D*, Bacon CD, Ding WN, Zhang QY, Donoghue P, Antonelli A, Xing YW, 2021. Fossil data support a pre-Cretaceous origin of flowering plant. Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Tang H, Li SF, Su T, Spicer RA, Zhang ST, Li SH, Liu J, Lauretano V, Witkowski CR, Spicer TEV, Deng WYD, Wu M-X, Ding WN, Zhou ZK. 2020. Early Oligocene vegetation and climate of southwestern China inferred from palynology. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 560: 109988.

Ding WN, Ree RH*, Spicer RA, Xing YW*. 2020. Ancient orogenic and monsoon-driven assembly of the world’s richest temperate alpine flora. Science 369: 578–581.

Wang TX, Huang J, Ding WN, Del Rio C, Su T, Zhou ZK. 2020. Fossil involucres of Ostrya (Betulaceae) from the early Oligocene of Yunnan and their biogeographic implications. Palaeoworld 29: 752-760.

Ding WN, Huang J, Su T, Xing YW*, Zhou ZK*. 2018. An early Oligocene occurrence of the palaeoendemic genus Dipteronia (Sapindaceae) from Southwest China. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 249: 16–23.

Ding WN, Kunzmann L, Su T*, Huang J, Zhou ZK*. 2018. A new fossil species of Cryptomeria (Cupressaceae) from the Rupelian of the Lühe Basin, Yunnan, East Asia: Implications for palaeobiogeography and palaeoecology. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 248: 41–51.

Linnemann U, Su T, Kunzmann L, Spicer RA, Ding WN, Spicer TEV, Zieger J, Hofmann M, Moraweck K, Gärtner A, Gerdes A, Marko L, Zhang ST, Li SF, Tang H, Huang J, Mulch A, Mosbrugger V*, Zhou ZK*. 2018. New U–Pb dates show a Paleogene origin for the modern Asian biodiversity hot spots. Geology 46:3–6.

Zhou ZK*, Huang J, Ding WN, 2017. The impact of major geological events on Chinese flora (in Chinese). Biodiversity Science 25: 123-125.