Professor Ling Li

Professor

School of Civil Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
l.li@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 53911

Overview

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. With a large team of researchers from UQ and overseas, he is investigating how fractures develop in coal seams in response to hydraulic fracking, a topic of great interest to the scientific community, coal seam industry and general public. He also has strong interests in field investigation and physical modelling of environmental systems through interactions with experimentalists. In 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 currently Editor of Water Science and Engineering, a member of the Editorial Board of Advances in Water Resources and served previously as an Associate Editor of Hydrogeology Journal.

Research Interests

  • • Wetland eco-hydrology
  • • Coastal processes (intertidal zones)
  • • Porous media flow and mass transport (groundwater flow and solute transport)
  • • Eco-environmental system modelling
  • • Impact of major hydro-engineering projects on the environment and ecosystems
  • • Integrated water resources management

Research Impacts

Professor Li's research on coastal groundwater dynamics addresses fundamental aspects of ocean-land interactions and has contributed to the development of many emerging concepts and research directions in this field. Until the 1990s very little theoretical research had been done on intertidal groundwater processes at the ocean-land interface. His work, starting from the mid-1990s, has provided a key theoretical base for current scientific view of the dynamics of coastal shallow aquifers, and interactions between aquifers and coastal seas. Traditionally, groundwater hydrologists and water engineers looked at only one side of the issue – the intrusion of seawater into coastal aquifers. Professor Li introduced the community to the other side – the dynamic interaction between seawater intrusion and groundwater outflow to the sea, particularly the environmental impact associated with the interchange. On the other hand, for marine scientists who are interested in the effects of groundwater on mass balance in the ocean, his research established a theoretical framework for assessing submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) and associated chemical input to coastal waters. He developed the first theoretical model of SGD that incorporates oscillating groundwater flow and circulation driven by tides and waves. This work (published in Water Resources Research) has significant influence on current research in the area and has been widely cited.

Qualifications

  • BE, Tsinghua
  • Master of Engineering, The University of Western Australia
  • PhD, The University of Western Australia

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Excessive pumping of groundwater from coastal aquifers has resulted in serious seawater intrusion in the Burdekin Delta area of Northern Queensland. Artificial recharge using waste/rain water has been applied o maintain groundwater levels and hence control saltwater intrusion. This project aims to examine coastal groundwater behaviour under a range of recharge conditions. Parametric study based on an existing model (SUTRA) will be carried out to determine design parameters of optimal artificial recharge schemes, e.g., recharge rate and location.

  • Load cells measuring the total weight of sands and water above a certain level within the seabed may provide an effective way of detecting the changes of the beach profile. The project aims to test this technique in laboratory experiments under a range of conditions (e.g., waves and tides).

  • The overall aim of the study is to assess the potential impact of future groundwater resource development scenarios on selected wetland ecosystems in the Moreton area. Water balance in wetlands is determined by various hydrologic fluxes including surface inflow and outflow, precipitation, evapotranspiration, and exchange between the surface and ground water. The groundwater exchange component may be relatively small; however, it is crucial to the biogeochemical conditions/processes in the wetland because of the typical sharp contrast between the surface water chemistry and groundwater chemistry. For example, groundwater and surface water exchange can alter the mass balance of redox-sensitive solutes in the wetland. To determine the groundwater exchange with the surface water in the wetland [discharge (inflow to the wetland), and/or recharge (outflow from the wetland)] is a difficult and yet important task in studying the impact of groundwater on the wetland ecosystem.

    The study will be based on analyses of existing data, site inspections and simple modelling.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Yan, Guanxi, Li, Zi, Bore, Thierry, Galindo-Torres, Sergio, Schlaeger, Stefan, Scheuermann, Alexander and Li, Ling (2017). An experimental platform for measuring soil water characteristic curve under transient flow conditions. In: Alessio Ferrari and Lyesse Laloui, International Workshop on Advances in Laboratory Testing and Modelling of Soils and Shales, ATMSS 2017. International Workshop on Advances in Laboratory Testing and Modelling of Soils and Shales, ATMSS 2017, Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland, (231-238). 18 - 20 January 2017. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-52773-4_26

  • Bai, Tianhang, Chen, Zhongwei, Aminossadati, Saiied M., Danesh, Nima, Pan, Zhejun, Liu, Jishan and Li, Ling (2016). Impact of flow regimes on coal fines generation during coal seam gas production process. In: 50th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium 2016 Proceedings. 50th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium, Houston, TX, United States, (356-365). 26-29 June 2016.

  • Galindo-Torres, S. A., Behraftar, S., Scheuermann, A. and Li, L. (2015). A micromechanical model for studies of hydraulic fracturing. In: Fusao Oka, Akira Murakami, Ryosuke Uzuoka and Sayuri Kimoto, Computer Methods and Recent Advances in Geomechanics - Proc. of the 14th International Conference of International Association for Computer Methods and Recent Advances in Geomechanics, IACMAG 2014. 14th International Conference of International Association for Computer Methods and Recent Advances in Geomechanics, IACMAG 2014, Kyoto, Japan, (1575-1580). 22-25 September 2014. doi:10.1201/b17435-278

  • Zhang, Y. P., Pedroso, D. M. and Li, L. (2015). Assessment of finite difference methods to solve porous media dynamics. In: Fusao Oka, Akira Murakami, Ryosuke Uzuoka and Sayuri Kimoto, Computer Methods and Recent Advances in Geomechanics - Proc. of the 14th International Conference of International Association for Computer Methods and Recent Advances in Geomechanics, IACMAG 2014. 14th International Conference of International Association for Computer Methods and Recent Advances in Geomechanics, IACMAG 2014, Kyoto, Japan, (1433-1438). 22-25 September 2014. doi:10.1201/b17435-252

  • Kang, T., Pedroso, D. M., Scheuermann, A. and Li, L. (2015). Comparison of seepage analysis methods based on Finite Elements. In: Fusao Oka, Akira Murakami, Ryosuke Uzuoka and Sayuri Kimoto, Computer Methods and Recent Advances in Geomechanics - Proc. of the 14th International Conference of International Association for Computer Methods and Recent Advances in Geomechanics, IACMAG 2014. 14th International Conference of International Association for Computer Methods and Recent Advances in Geomechanics, IACMAG 2014, Kyoto, Japan, (1421-1426). 22-25 September 2014. doi:10.1201/b17435-250

  • Ma, Y., Yan, G., Scheuermann, A., Li, L., Galindo-Torres, S. A. and Bringemeier, D. (2014). Discrete microbubbles flow in transparent porous media. In: N. Khalili, A. R. Russell and A. Khoshghalb, Unsaturated Soils: Research and Applications: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Unsaturated Soils: UNSAT 2014. 6th International Conference on Unsaturated Soils (UNSAT 2014), Sydney, Australia, (1219-1223). 2-4 July 2014. doi:10.1201/b17034-177

  • Scheuermann, A., Galindo-Torres, S. A., Pedroso, D. M., Williams, D. J. and Li, L. (2014). Dynamics of water movements with reversals in unsaturated soils. In: Unsaturated Soils: Research and Applications: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Unsaturated Soils: UNSAT 2014. 6th International Conference on Unsaturated Soils (UNSAT 2014), Sydney, Australia, (1053-1059). 2-4 July 2014. doi:10.1201/b17034-153

  • Busse, J., Scheurmann, A., Galindo-Torres, S. A., Bringemeier, D. and Li, L. (2014). In-situ and laboratory measurements of coal matrix and cleat permeability. In: N. Khalili, A. R. Russell and A. Khoshghalb, 6th International Conference on Unsaturated Soils (UNSAT 2014), Sydney, Australia, (1425-1430). 2-4 July 2014. doi:10.1201/b17034-208

  • Galindo-Torres, S., Scheuermann, A., Pedroso, D. M. and Li, L. (2013). Effect of boundary conditions on measured water retention behavior within soils. In: American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting 2013, San Francisco, CA, USA, (). 9-13 December, 2013.

  • Ma, Ye, Bringemeier, Detlef, Scheuermann, Alexander, Molebatsi, Tiro and Li, Ling (2012). Fault and fracture zone detection based on soil gas mapping and gamma ray survey at the extension site of an open pit coal mine. In: Proceedings of the 2012 Coal Operators' Conference. 2012 Coal Operators' Conference, Wollongong, NSW, Australia, (379-387). 16-17 February 2012.

  • Molebatsi, T., Galindo Torres, S., Li, L., Bringemeier, D. and Wang, X. (2009). Effect of Fracture Permeability on connectivity of fracture networks.. In: Proceedings, International Mine Water Conference 2009. International Mine Water Conference 2009, Pretoria, South Africa, (248-255). 19 - 23 October.

  • Xin, P, Jin, GQ and Li, L (2009). Modelling study on subsurface flows affected by macro-pores in marsh sediments. In: 16th Asia and Pacific Division Congress of the International Association of Hydraulic Engineering and Research/3rd IAHR International Symposium on Hydraulic Structures, Nanjing, China, (1394-1400). 20-23 October, 2008. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-89465-0_244

  • Xin, Pei, Jin, Guangqiu and Li, Ling (2009). Modelling study on subsurface flows affected by macro-pores in marsh sediments. In: Advances in Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering: Proceedings of 16th IAHR-APD congress and 3rd symposium of IAHR-ISHS. 16th International Association of Hydraulic Engineering and Research. Asia and Pacific Division. Congress, Nanjing, China, (1394-1400). 20-23 October 2008. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-89465-0_244

  • Gibbes, B., Robinson, C., Li, L. and Lockington, D. (2007). Measurement of hydrodynamics and pore water chemistry in intertidal groundwater systems. In: ICS 2007 Proceedings (Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia). 9th International Coastal Symposium, Gold Coast , Australia, (884-894). 16-20 April, 2007.

  • Horn, Diane P., Baldock, Tom E. and Li, Ling (2007). The Influence of Groundwater on Profile Evolution of Fine and Coarse Sand Beaches. In: Nicholas C. Kraus and Julie Dean Rosati, Proceedings of 6th International Symposium on Coastal Engineering and Science of Coastal Sediment Processes,. Coastal Sediments 07, New Orleans, Louisiana, (506-519). 13-17 May, 2007. doi:10.1061/40926(239)38

  • Robinson, C. and Li, L. (2006). Tidal dynamics in a subterranean estuary. In: Proceedings of the 1st Joint SWIM-SWICA Conference. 1st SWIM-SWICA: First International Joint Salt Water Intrusion Conference, Cagliari, Chia Laguna, Italy, (). 24-29 September, 2006.

  • Li, L., Clarke, W. P., Lockington, D. A. and Jeng, D.-S (2005). Assessing the effectiveness of new teaching methods in engineering education. In: David Radcliffe and Josh Humphries, 4th ASEE/AaeE Global Colloquium on Engineering Education. 4th ASEE/AaeE Global Colloquium on Engineering Education, Sydney, Australia, (1-6). 26-29 September 2005.

  • Robinson, C., Baldock, T. E., Horn, D. P., Gibbes, B., Hughes, M. G., Nielsen, P. and Li, L. (2005). Measurement of groundwater and swash interactions on a sandy beach. In: Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Coastal Dynamics. 5th International Conference on Coastal Dynamics, Barcelona, Spain, (). 4-8 April, 2005.

  • Robinson, C. and Li, L. (2004). Effect of tidal oscillations on water exchange and mixing in a coastal aquifer. In: Cass T Miller, M.W. Farthing, W.G. Gray and G.F. Pinder, Computational methods in water resources : Proceedings of the XVth International Conference on Computational Methods in Water Resources. 15th International Conference on Computational Methods in Water Resources, Chapel Hill NC United States, (1583-1594). 13-17 June 2004.

  • Robinson, C. E. and Li, L. (2004). Effect of tidal oscillations on water exchange and mixing in a coastal aquifer. In: C T Miller, M W Farthing and W G Gray and G F Pinder, 15th International Conference on Computational Methods in Water Resources (CMWR XV). 15th International Conference on Computational Methods in Wat), Chapel Hill, NC, USA, (1-1). 13-17 June 2004.

  • Gibbes, B., Li, L. and Lockington, D. (2004). Flow systems within intertidal sandbanks and their implications for iron transport in Moreton Bay. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Civil and Environmental Engineering. International Conference on Civil and Environmental Engineering (ICCEE-2004), Faculty Club (Gakushi-Kaikan), Hiroshima University, Higashi-Hiroshima, Japan, (129-138). 27 - 28 July, 2004.

  • Jeng, D.-S, Seymour, B R, Barry, D.A., Li, L. and Parlange, J-H (2004). Free surface flow of groundwater: Revisit of shallow water expansion. In: M S Altinakar, S S Y Wang and K P Holz and M Kawahara, Advances in Hydro-Science and-Engineering. Advances in Hydro-Science and-Engineering, Brisbane, Australia, (1-10). 31 May - June 3, 2004.

  • Robinson, C. E. and Li, L. (2004). Laboratory investigations on water exchange and mixing processes in a coastal aquifer. In: M S Altinakar, S S Y Wang and K P Holz and M Kawahara, Advances in Hydro-Science and-Engineering. Advances in Hydro-Science and-Engineering, Brisbane, Australia, (1-9). 31 May - June 3, 2004.

  • Ang, L.S., Sum, C.H-Y., Baldock, T.E., Li, L. and Nielsen, P. (2004). Measurement and modelling of controlled beach groundwater levels under wave action. In: M Behnia, W Lin and G d McBain, 15th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference. 15th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference (15 AFMC), University of Sydney, (1-4). 13-17 December 2004.

  • Jeng, D. S., Seymour, B. R., Barry, D. A., Li, L. and Parlange, J. -Y. (2004). New approximation for free surface flow of groundwater in coastal aquifers. In: Cass T Miller, M.W. Farthing, W.G. Gray and G.F. Pinder, Computational methods in water resources : Proceedings of the XVth International Conference on Computational Methods in Water Resources. 15th International Conference on Computational Methods in Water Resources, Chapel Hill NC United States, (1525-1534). 13-17 June 2004.

  • Jeng, D.S., Seymour, B.R., Barry, D.A., Li, L. and Parlange, J-Y (2004). New approximation for free surface flow of groundwater in coastal aquifers. In: C T Miller, M W Farthing and W G Gray and G F Pinder, 15th International Conference on Computational Methods in Water Resources (CMWR XV). 15th International Conference on Computational Methods in Wat), Chapel Hill, NC, USA, (1-1). 13-17 June 2004.

  • Cartwright, Nick, Nielsen, Peter and Li, Ling (2004). The influence of offshore storm waves on groundwater dynamics and salinity in a sandy beach. In: Jane McKee Smith, Coastal Engineering 2004: Proceedings of the 29th International Conference. 29th International Conference on Coastal Engineering, Lisbon, Portugal, (1841-1850). 19 - 24 September 2004. doi:10.1142/9789812701916_0147

  • Cartwright, N. B., Nielsen, P. and Li, L. (2004). Watertable Wave Dispersion in Sandy Coastal Aquifers. In: M. S. Altinakar, S. S. Y. Wang, K. P. Holz and M. Kawahara, Advances in Hydro-Science and-Engineering. Advances in Hydro-Science and-Engineering, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, (1-10). 31 May - June 3 2004.

  • Jeng, DS, Teo, HT, Barry, DA and Li, L (2003). Analytical approximation for tidal dynamics in coastal aquifers. In: Proceedings of the Thirteenth (2003) International Offshore and Polar Engineering Conference, Vol 3. 13th International Offshore and Polar Engineering Conference (ISOPE-2003), Honolulu Hi, (870-877). May 25-30, 2003.

  • Jeng, D. S., Seymour, B. R., Teo, H. T., Barry, D. A. and Li, L. (2003). New approximation for tide-induced water table fluctuations at a sloping beach. In: Modsim 2003: International Congress On Modelling and Simulation, Vols 1-4. International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, Townsville, Australia, (260-265). 14-17 July 2003.

  • Cartwright, N. B., Nielsen, P., Li, L. and Callaghan, D. P. (2003). Watertable Waves in Unconfined Aquifers: Sloping Boundary Effects. In: 16th Australasian Coastal and Ocean Engineering Conference. Coasts and Ports Australasian Conference 2003, Auckland, New Zealand, (1-9). 9-12 September 2003.

  • Li, L. and Barry, D. A. (2001). Groundwater effects on sediment transport: A modelling study of the mechanisms underlying beach dewatering for erosion control. In: Hydraulics of rivers, water works and machinery vol. II : proceedings of Theme D. 29th Annual Congress of the International Association of Hydraulic Engineering and Research (IAHR), Beijing China, (294-305). 16-21 September 2001.

  • Barry, D. A. and Li, L. (1994). Physical basis of nonequilibrium solute transport in soil. In: 15th World Congress of Soil Science, Transactions. 15th World Congress of Soil Science, Acapulco, Mexico, (86-105). 10-16 July 1994.

  • Li, L., Barry, D. A., Hensley, P. J. and Bajracharya, K. A. (1993). Nonreactive chemical transport in structured soil: the potential for centrifugal modelling. In: Robin Fell, Tony Phillips and Charles Gerrard, Geotechnical management of waste and contamination: Proceedings of the Conference on Geotechnical Management of Waste and Contamination 1993. Conference on Geotechnical Management of Waste and Contamination 1993, Sydney, Australia, (425-431). 22-23 March 1993.

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Excessive pumping of groundwater from coastal aquifers has resulted in serious seawater intrusion in the Burdekin Delta area of Northern Queensland. Artificial recharge using waste/rain water has been applied o maintain groundwater levels and hence control saltwater intrusion. This project aims to examine coastal groundwater behaviour under a range of recharge conditions. Parametric study based on an existing model (SUTRA) will be carried out to determine design parameters of optimal artificial recharge schemes, e.g., recharge rate and location.

  • Load cells measuring the total weight of sands and water above a certain level within the seabed may provide an effective way of detecting the changes of the beach profile. The project aims to test this technique in laboratory experiments under a range of conditions (e.g., waves and tides).

  • The overall aim of the study is to assess the potential impact of future groundwater resource development scenarios on selected wetland ecosystems in the Moreton area. Water balance in wetlands is determined by various hydrologic fluxes including surface inflow and outflow, precipitation, evapotranspiration, and exchange between the surface and ground water. The groundwater exchange component may be relatively small; however, it is crucial to the biogeochemical conditions/processes in the wetland because of the typical sharp contrast between the surface water chemistry and groundwater chemistry. For example, groundwater and surface water exchange can alter the mass balance of redox-sensitive solutes in the wetland. To determine the groundwater exchange with the surface water in the wetland [discharge (inflow to the wetland), and/or recharge (outflow from the wetland)] is a difficult and yet important task in studying the impact of groundwater on the wetland ecosystem.

    The study will be based on analyses of existing data, site inspections and simple modelling.

  • The overall aim of the study is to assess the potential impact of future groundwater resource development scenarios on selected stream ecosystems in the Moreton area. Groundwater interacts with streams through exchange within an area known as the hyporheic zone – a diffuse region that forms the boundary between the stream channel and the adjacent groundwater system. Hyporheic exchange affects the quantity of water in the stream. In addition, the exchange modifies the stream water chemistry. Chemicals dissolved in the water, such as nutrients and pesticides, may undergo significant biogeochemical transformations within the hyporheic zone. To develop a linkage between the groundwater and the stream ecology, it is important to identify the mode of surface water and groundwater interaction (i.e., gaining, losing or perched stream), delineate the hyporheic zones, and determine the hyporheic exchange fluxes (including water and dissolved chemicals).

    This study will be based on analyses of existing data, site inspections and simple modelling.