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).


March 2015, Rocio Perez joined the department as EU project manager.

March 2015, Milan Flach joined the department as PhD student.

Jan 2015, Paul Bodesheim joined the department as PostDoc.

Latest papers

Frank, D., Reichstein, M., Bahn, M., Thonicke, K., Frank, D., Mahecha, M.D., Smith, P., van der Velde, M., Vicca, S., Babst, F., Beer, C., Buchmann, N., Canadell, J.G., Ciais, P., Cramer, W., Ibrom, A., Miglietta, F., Poulter, B., Rammig, A., Seneviratne, S.I., Walz, A., Wattenbach, M., Zavala, M.A., Zscheischler, J. (2015) Effects of climate extremes on the terrestrial carbon cycle: concepts, processes and potential future impacts. Global Change Biology doi: 10.1111/gcb.12916

Forkel, M., Migliavacca, M., Thonicke, K., Reichstein, M., Schaphoff, S., Weber, U., and Carvalhais, N. (2015) Co-dominant water control on global inter-annual variability and trends in land surface phenology and greenness. Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/gcb.12950

Dalmonech, D., Zaehle, S., Schürmann, G., Brovkin, V., Reick, C., Schnur, R. (2015). Separation of the effects of land and climate model errors on simulated contemporary land carbon cycle trends in the MPI Earth system model VI. Journal of Climate, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00593.1.

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. (2014) Carbon-cycle extremes during the 21st century in CMIP5 models: future evolution and attribution to climatic drivers. Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 41, Iss. 24, 8853–8861 doi:10.1002/2014GL062409

Carvalhais, N., Forkel, M., Khomik, M., et al. (2014) Global covariation of carbon turnover times with climate in terrestrial ecosystems. Nature, 514, 213-217 doi:10.1038/nature13731