In the Theoretical Ecosystem Ecology group of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, we study transfers and transformations of energy and matter within terrestrial ecosystems with a strong focus on mathematical models to represent relevant processes. The allocation of carbon to different vegetation components and the transformations of organic matter within the soil system are two main topics of our research group. We are particularly interested in studying the responses of forest carbon stores to changes in climate and interactions among multiple biogeochemical cycles. An important part of our research is developed on tropical regions.

Current Projects

Project
Description
Funding
Measurement and global interpretation of greenhouse gases at the ATTO tower in the Amazon rain forest
This is a collaborative project with the MPI for Chemistry in Mainz and multiple Brazilian investigators around the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory ATTO. We are contributing to this project with the collection of atmospheric flask samples for analyses of greenhouse gases and 14CO2. We also collect data and calculating the age structure of carbon stocks and fluxes in a central Amazon forest.
Hawaiʻi Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities
The main aim of this project is to develop equitable practices, data systems, and decision support tools to promote and actuate meaningful climate benefits in agroecosystems guided by Hawaiʻi-based producers and ancestral practitioners. The project is led by Prof. Susan Crow from the University of Hawai'i.
Utilizing 14C technology to decipher the sources of methane in wetlands and their response to global change
This project aims to investigate methane production pathways and regulatory mechanisms by employing techniques such as 13C and 14C analyses of methane and biomarkers of methanogens and methanotrophs. The project takes place in wetlands of the Zoige region in the Tibetan Plateau. The project is a collaboration with Prof. Xiaojuan Feng of the Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Drought Impact on the Climate Benefit of Carbon Sequestration
This project, led by Estefania Muñoz, aims at improving the understanding of the role of soil moisture on the amount of carbon stored in ecosystems and the time this carbon remains stored. The project is based at CREAF in Spain.

Previous Projects

Project
Description
Funding
Stochastic understanding of ecosystem productivity under elevated CO2 and changes in rainfall regimes
In the project, we use models and observations to address the question: does a stochastic treatment of rainfall and atmospheric CO2 concentration lead to different predictions of CO2 fertilization effects in ecosystems compared to strictly deterministic approaches?
Nonlinearities and Alternative States of Biogeochemical cycling in terrestrial ecosystems
In this project we attempt to better link mathematical models of biogeochemical cycling with a theoretical framework of ecosystem function; in particular, a theory that encompasses the prediction of the residence time of biogeochemical elements in terrestrial ecosystems and possible alternative states of biogeochemical cycling.
Geo-ecosystems in transition on the Tibetan Plateau (TransTiP)
TransTiP is a Sino-German Reserach Training Group that studies ecosystems in transition in the Tibetaen Plateu. Our group participates in this project developing models of carbon fluxes in permafrost soils.
An Ecological Observatory System for Colombia: a prototype for monitoring changes in biodiversity and ecosystem function
The objective of this project is to develop a research plan to promote and design the implementation of an Ecological Observatory System that monitors changes in ecosystem and climate in Colombia.
National carbon stocks of mangroves in Colombia: capacity building for their inclusion in climate change mitigation strategies
In this project we are developing a model for the estimation of carbon stocks in Colombian mangroves, and will explore policy mechanisms to include these ecosystems in the climate change mitigation strategy of Colombia.