The global terrestrial biosphere, i.e. the vegetation and soils, strongly reacts to variations in atmospheric conditions but also influences the atmosphere via exchange of matter and energy (e.g. trace gases, latent and sensible heat). These interactions occur on time-scales that range from seconds to millennia, and ascend from the molecular to the global spatial scale. They are mediated by the action of organisms which shape important biogeochemical and biogeophysical processes in their ecosystems, which in turn are forming landscapes, regions, and biomes. Hence we study the nature and the role of these interactions between the biosphere and the atmosphere, using a modelling approach, which integrates observations from organisms to global scale. This research should ultimately help understanding how the biosphere is reacting to and is exerting feedbacks on ongoing environmental change (e.g. changing water cycle, global warming, increasing atmospheric CO2 levels, and nitrogen deposition).


Nov 2014, Jürgen Knauer joined the department as new PhD Student.

June 2014, Jakob Zscheischler sucessfully defended his PhD thesis at the ETH Zürich. Congratulatioms

Apr 2014, Sebastian Sippel joined the department as new PhD Student and was awarded a scholarship by the German National Academic Foundation.
Welcome and congrats!

Latest papers

Forkel, M., Carvalhais, N., Schaphoff, S., v. Bloh, W., Migliavacca, M., Thurner, M., and Thonicke, K. (2014) Identifying environmental controls on vegetation greenness phenology through model–data integration. Biogeosciences, doi:10.5194/bg-11-7025-2014

Zscheischler, J., Reichstein, M., von Buttlar, J., Mu, M., Randerson, J.T., and Mahecha, M.D. (online early) Carbon-cycle extremes during the 21st century in CMIP5 models: future evolution and attribution to climatic drivers. Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1002/2014GL062409

Carvalhais, N., Forkel, M., Khomik, M., et al. (online early) Global covariation of carbon turnover times with climate in terrestrial ecosystems. Nature doi:10.1038/nature13731 doi:10.1038/nature13731

Reichstein, M., Bahn, M., Mahecha, M.D. et al. (2014) Linking plant and ecosystem functional biogeography. PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1216065111 doi:10.1073/pnas.1216065111

Zaehle, S. et al. (2014), Evaluation of 11 terrestrial carbon–nitrogen cycle models against observations from two temperate Free-Air CO2 Enrichment studies, New Phytologist, 202, 803-822. click for abstract

Reichstein M., Bahn, M., Ciais, P., Frank, D., Mahecha, M.D., Seneviratne, S.I., , Zscheischler, J., Beer, C. et al. (2013) Climate extremes and the carbon cycle. Nature, 500, 287–295. click for a short summary!

Zaehle, S. (2013): Terrestrial nitrogen-carbon cycle interactions at the global scale. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences, 368, Art. 20130125.

Measured and modeled seasonal ecosystem carbon fluxes Mahecha, M.D., Reichstein, M., Jung, M., et al. (2010) Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, 115, G02003. >>