Environmental Physiology and Functional Ecology

Soils, plants and ecosystems 


Future Landscapes - Integrated land-uses in agriculture, forestry and natural ecosystemsFunctional ecologyBiocrusts researchBiological soil crusts - BrandenburgRestoration ecology of mining sites, Lower Lusatia, BrandenburgEcological invesitigations of Robinia at post-mining sitesLinking plant ecophysiology and microclimate - South AfricaWater use in agro-landscapesEcological Systems of the Geo-Biosphere - Ökologie der Erde -


  • Research themes
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Plant ecophysiology and experimental ecology

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Ecophysiology represents the study of short-term acclimation and long-term adaptation of plants to changing environmental conditions. These includes photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, water and mineral uptake. The research range from physiological processes of plants to studies on soil-plant interactions within ecosystems. A key question is the integration of plant ecophysiology into ecosystem functioning and development. Read more


Biological soil crusts - Brandenburg

In many ecosystems of the world biological soil crusts play an important role for ecosystem processes. These biocrusts are assemblages of cyanobacteria, green algae, bacteria mosses, liverworts, fungi and/or lichens. BSC are highly stress tolerant under extreme environmental conditions. The understanding of pattern formations and interactions with biogeochemical and biotic processes are important for ecological theory and for applications in restoration ecology. Read more



Ecophysiology of pioneer trees - Brandenburg

It is crucial to understand growthl responses of trees to climate variability and soil conditions. Therefore, more detailed ecophysiological informations are required. In this context, a research focus are ecophysiological adaptations of pionieer trees on marginal lands and reclaimed post-mining-sites. Read more


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Restoration ecology of post-mining sites - Brandenburg

Open-cast mining are often large scale disturbances, which affects entire landscapes and ecosystem processes.  These initial soils, consisting of excavated and dumped material, are characterized by a high vulnerability to erosion, low water holding capacity, lack of nutrients, low pH or sparse vegetation. Such harsh human impacts create the need for remediation and restoration measures for mining regions that address classical agricultural services, forestry and  nature conservation. Read more


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Tree-crop interactions: microclimate and ecophysiology 

The Western Cape Province in South Africa is characterized by a high evaporation and high wind speeds, which have implications on crop water demands and on water availability in the region. In particular in the last decade, the cultivation of wine and other irrigated orchards increased in the region. Objectives of our research are physiological processes of tree-crop interactions in agroforestry systems and their relations to microclimate in South Africa. Read more



  • New publications
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Identification of spatial pattern of photosynthesis hotspots in biological soil crusts by combining chlorophyll fluorescence imaging and multispectral BNDVI images

For the evaluation of biocrusts functions and their impact on soil carbon pools, the analysis of the interrelationship between photosynthetic activity and the variations of spatial distribution pattern and types of biocrust is indispensable. For this purpose, an image processing approach was applied that combined chlorophyll fluorescence analyses and multispectral BNDVI to comprehensively characterize the spatial patterns of photosynthetic hotspots in biological soil crusts. Read more




Agrarholz - Schnellwachsende Bäume in der Landwirtschaft

Springer Spektrum August 2018

Planting of trees into agricultural systems have economical benefits as they provide timber and and fuelwood and other products. It is well recognized, that these shelterbelts enhance biodiversity and have positive effects on the ecosystem functioning. In those contemporary agroforestry systems, selection of tree species and their management are more economically oriented towards an optimizing biomass production, use and harvest, especially in short-rotation systems for bioenergy. The book give an overview about biology, ecology and management of fast-growing trees in agroforestry and short-rotation forestry. Read more


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