Professor Ling Li

+61 7 336 53911

School of Civil Engineering
The University of Queensland
St Lucia, 4072


Professor Li obtained his BEng Degree in Environmental Engineering from Tsinghua University (China) in 1988 and his PhD from the University of Western Australia in 1998. His principal research interests lie in mathematical modelling of complex environmental systems. His current work, focusing on processes at the ocean-land interface, has important implications for coastal water resources management and sustainable development. He also has strong interests in field investigation and physical modelling of environmental systems through interactions with experimentalists. In a recent collaboration with scientists from China and UK, he conducted a field investigation on sand dunes in Badain Jaran Desert in the north-west of China. This work (published in Nature) has led to the discovery of a major groundwater system, which could transform the water resources plan in the region. He has published extensively, with over 100 articles in top international journals, and is a regular keynote speaker at international conferences. He is currently Professor and Chair in Environmental Engineering at the University of Queensland. He held visiting professor positions at The University of Edinburgh and EPFL, and is currently holding a prestigious “1000 Talents” visiting professorship at Hohai University. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Advances in Water Resources and served previously as an Associate Editor of Hydrogeology Journal.

  • Porous Media Flow and Mass Transport (Groundwater)
  • Coastal Processes

  • Eco-Environmental System Modelling

  • Water Resources Engineering

Teaching and Learning: 
  • Program leader of Master of Engineering (Environmental) by coursework at the University of Queensland
  • Undergraduate subjects teaching in the areas of subsurface hydrology, contaminant transport processes, water quality modelling and environmental system modelling

  • Currently supervise two Master (by research) students, seven PhD students and two post-doctoral research fellows

  • Multiphase flow and transport in complex coastal wetland systems (ARC DP)
  • Multi-scale, two-phase flow in complex coal seam systems (ARC Linkage)

  • Hydraulic connectivity between mines and adjacent river and groundwater systems in the Hunter River Valley (ACARP)

  • Impact of the 3GD dam on Poyang lake wetlands ("973")

  • Effects of storm surges on intertidal groundwater flow

  • 2007 Second Class Award of the State Natural Science Award of China

  • 2007 onwards Adjunct Professor of Heriot-Watt University (Edinburgh, UK)

  • 2005 First Class Award of the Ministry of Education Natural Science Award of China

  • 2004 University of Queensland Foundation Research Excellence Award

  • 2004 Excellent Young Researcher Award of NSFC

  • 2003 Australian Research Council Early Career Researcher Award

  • 2002 Australian Research Council International Fellow

  • 1998 STA Fellow (funded by the Japanese government)

Key Publications: 

Xin P., L.-R. Yuan, L. Li, and D. A. Barry, 2011, Tidally driven multi-scale pore water flow in a creek-marsh system, Water Resources Research, 47, Article Number: W07534, DOI: 10.1029/2010WR010110.

  • Robinson, C., L. Li and D. A. Barry, 2007, Effect of tidal forcing on a subterranean estuary. Advances in Water Resources, doi:10.1016/j.advwatres.2006.07.006.

This paper presents a theoretical framework for studying tidally dominated subterranean estuaries, in particular, how to quantify and analyse the near-shore flow and transport dynamics. No. of SCI citations: 38 (ranked No. 3 among the 187 papers published by AWR in the same year).

  • Chen J. S., Li L., J. Y. Wang, D. A. Barry, X. F. Sheng, W. Z. Gu, X. Zhao and L. Chen., 2004, Groundwater maintains dune landscape. Nature, 432, 459-460.

This paper reports an important discovery of a major groundwater system underneath Badain Jaran Desert in Inner Mongolia, which underpins the formation and maintenance of the desert’s unique landscape with numerous gigantic stationary dunes and freshwater lakes. The finding could also transform the region’s water resources plan. No. of SCI citations: 25.

  • Li, L., D. A. Barry, F. Stagnitti, J.-Y. Parlange and D. S. Jeng, 2000, Beach water table fluctuations due to spring-neap tides: moving boundary effects. Advances in Water Resources, 23, 817-824.

This paper presents the theory for low frequency groundwater waves. It shows that the moving boundary condition at the sloping beach face induces interactions between semi-diurnal solar and lunar tides as they propagate inland, leading to the generation of the spring-neap tidal water table fluctuation. No. of SCI citations: 58 (ranked No. 2 among the 63 papers published by AWR in the same year).

  • Li, L., D. A. Barry, F. Stagnitti and J.-Y. Parlange, 1999, Submarine groundwater discharge and associated chemical input to a coastal sea. Water Resources Research, 35, 3253-3259.

View more publications on the UQeSpace