Max Planck Gesellschaft

Research group: Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions and Experimentation

Mission | Focus Areas | Team | Projects | Experiments | Publications | Collaborations


The Biosphere-Atmosphere Experimentation and Interactions Group (BAĖ) aims at improving the understanding of the interactions and feedbacks between climate, environmental changes, nutrient availability and the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. To this end we combine tools and approaches from biometeorology and biogeochemistry such as eddy covariance flux observation, field manipulation experiments, soil and plant analysis, and proximal/remote sensing techniques. With a global focus, the group investigates the biosphere-atmosphere interactions by contributing to and analyzing globally distributed datasets (e.g. FLUXNET database, remote sensing products) using data-mining and model-data integration techniques. Exploiting this generalized information, our final goal is to enhance the description of the response of biosphere’s element cycling to climate variability in state-of-the-art global terrestrial biosphere models and up-scaling approaches.

Focus Areas

Focus #1: Climatic and environmental controls on ecosystem-atmosphere energy and mass exchanges:

  • Eddy covariance measurements of mass-energy exchanges between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere;
  • Characterization and partitioning of water fluxes;
  • Impacts of nutrient availability on carbon and water fluxes;
  • Contribution to and analysis of large dataset (e.g. FLUXNET database);

Focus #2: Phenology and Ecosystem Processes

  • Interactions and feedback between climate and land surface phenology;
  • Understanding the relationship between phenology and water cycles;
  • Development of tools for the measurements of land surface phenology;

Latest News

June 20th-24th, 2017
Trustee Advisory Board meeting and First Training School on Ecosystem Ecology, Vegetation Modelling and Time series Analysis at University of Milano-Bicocca, Milano

June 16th, 2017
New Publication by Pacheco-Labrador J., El-Madany T.S., Martín P.M., Migliavacca M., Rossini M., Carrara A. and Zarco-Tejada P.J. (2017) Spatio-Temporal Relationships between Optical Information and Carbon Fluxes in a Mediterranean Tree-Grass Ecosystem. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 608; doi:10.3390/rs9060608

May 17th-18th, 2017
EnMAP Core Scientific Team (ECST) workshop will be held Meeting in Potsdam at GFZ

>> news archive


Phone: +49.3641.57 - extension | E-mail: e-mail -

Name Position E-mail Phone Room
Mirco Migliavacca Group leader mmiglia ...6281 C2.008b
Tarek El-Madany Post-Doc telma ...6231 C2.010
JinHong Guan Post-Doc jguan ... C1.004
Tiana Hammer Technical Assistant thammer ...6264 C1.010
Kathrin Henkel Lab and Field Technician khenkel ....6506 A1.023
Yunpeng Luo PhD student yluo ...6208 C1.010
David Martini PhD student ... ... C2.020
Kendalynn Morris PhD student* kmorris ...6267 C1.020
Richard Nair PostDoc* rnair ...6220 C1.016
Javier Pacheco-Labrador Post-Doc jpacheco ...6280 C3.002a
Oscar Perez-Priego Post-Doc opriego ...6270 C1.012

Group members marked with * are shared with other research groups of the department.

Former team members, collaborators and guests

Verena Bessenbacher Technician
Cristina Novara Visiting PhD Student
Anna Berninger Internship


MANIP - Large-Scale Manipulation Experiment
MANIP, a long term experimental project, aims at understanding responses in different eddy covariance sites from nutrient loading (primarily N and P) and water availability, on ecosystem-level carbon, water fluxes, and their interannual variability.

Monitoring mass and energy fluxes in a manipulated Mediterranean tree-grass Dehesa (Mediterranean Savanna) ecosystem through the integration of ground and satellite data with airborne hyperspectral imagery

MoReDEHESHyReS - Modelling Responses of Dehesas with Hyperspectral Remote Sensing
MoReDEHESHyReS develops methodologies to exploit hyperspectral information from the Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program (EnMAP) mission in order to generate new products mapping new Essential Biodiversity Variables describing plant physiology and vegetation traits and structure.

Mr.PARTS: Minirhizotron Phenology and Root Traits
Mr.PARTS aims to develop a new, remote-operated minirhizotron (a method for non-destructive and repeatable observation of soil systems), as well as new computer vision tools to ease interpretation of images. This will be used to investigate the drivers of root growth and phenology at high time resolution in both mesocosms and the field, linking root phenology with ecosystem carbon budgets.

TRuStEE: Training on Remote Sensing for Ecosystem modElling
A Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (MSCA-ITN-ETN) on remote sensing for ecosystem modelling.


MANIP MAnipulation NItrogen and Phosphorous

SMANIE small-scale manipulation experiment


  • Phenopix - R package for the analysis of digital repeat photography archives (developed together with G. Filippa, E.Cremonese, A.D. Richardson, M.Forkel)
  • REddyProc - R package for the gap filling and partitioning of eddy covariance flux data (developed together with A.M Moffat, T.Wutzler, M.Reichstein, O. Menzer)
  • REddyProcWeb - Online Tool Online tool for u* filtering, gap-filling and partitioning of eddy covariance flux data. The new tool implements the same standardized methods of Reichstein et al. (2005) as the old online tool - with the algorithms migrated from PV-Wave to R.
  • RespChamb - R package for the analysis of chambers data (O. Perez-Priego, T.Wutzler)

Follow link for the complete list of publications by the research group since July 2013.

Key publications

Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions and FLUXNET synthesis

Perez-Priego, O., El-Madany T.S., Migliavacca, M., Kowalski A.S., Jung M., Carrara A. ,Kolle O., Martín M. P., Pacheco-Labrador J., Moreno G. , Reichstein, M. (2017) Evaluation of eddy covariance latent heat fluxes with independent lysimeter and sapflow estimates in a Mediterranean savannah ecosystem. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 236 DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2017.01.009

Musavi, T., Migliavacca, M., Reichstein, M., Kattge, J., Wirth, C., Black, T. A., Janssens, I., Knohl, A., Loustau, D., Roupsard, O., Varlagin, A., Rambal, S., Cescatti, A., Gianelle, D., Kondo, H., Tamrakar, R., Mahecha, M.D. (2017) Stand age and species richness dampen interannual variation of ecosystem-level photosynthetic capacity. Nature Ecology & Evolution. 1, 0048. doi:10.1038/s41559-016-0048.

Migliavacca, M. et al., (2015). Influence of physiological phenology on the seasonal pattern of ecosystem respiration in deciduous forests. Global Change Biology: DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12671.

Carvalhais, N., Forkel, M., Khomik, M., Bellarby, J., Jung, M., Migliavacca, M., Mu, M., Saatchi, S., Santoro, Thurner, M., , Ahrens, B., Beer, C., Cescatti, A., Randerson, J. T., Reichstein, M. (2014). Global covariation of carbon turnover times with climate in terrestrial ecosystems. Nature, 514, 213-217. doi:10.1038/nature13731

Migliavacca, M., Reichstein, M., Richardson, A.D., Colombo, R., Sutton, M., Lasslop, G., Tomelleri, E., Wohlfahrt, G., Carvalhais, N., Cescatti, A., Mahecha, M.D., Montagnani, L., Papale, D., Zaehle, S., Arain, A., Arneth, A., Baldocchi, D.D., Black, A.T., Dore, S., Gianelle, D., Helfter, C., Hollinger, D., Rodeghiero, M., Roupsard, O., Sebastia, M.-T., Seufert, G., Soussana, J.-F. and van der Molen, M.K. Semi-empirical modeling of abiotic and biotic factors controlling ecosystem respiration across eddy covariance sites (2011) Global Change Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2010.02243.x

Mahecha, M.D., Reichstein, M., Carvalhais, N., Lasslop, G., Lange, H., Seneviratne, S.I., Vargas, R., Ammann, C., Arain, M.A., Cescatti, A., Janssens, I.A., Migliavacca, M., Montagnani, L. and Richardson, A.D. (2010) Global Convergence in the Temperature Sensitivity of Respiration at Ecosystem Level. Science, 329, 838-840.
Please find a mini summary here Nature Geoscience Research Highlight and an in depth Perspective by Peter Reich: The Carbon Dioxide Exchange, Science, 329, 774-775, followed up by a Comment by Eric Davidson, Science, 330, 1176-1177. Moreover, we see the need to give some clarifications in response to media, Klarstellungen zum Medienecho, Chiarimento in risposta ai media

Migliavacca, M.; Meroni, M.; Manca, G.; Matteucci, G.; Montagnani, L.; Grassi G.; Zenone, T.; Teobaldelli, M.; Goded, I.; Colombo, R. and Seufert, G. (2009).Seasonal and interannual patterns of carbon and water fluxes of a poplar plantation in Northern Italy. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 149 (9), pp 1460-1476.

Phenology and Ecosystem Processes

Filippa, G., Cremonese, E., Migliavacca, M., Galvagno, G., Forkel, M., Wingate, L., Tomelleri, E., Morra di Cella, U., Richardson, A.D., Phenopix: A R package for image-based vegetation phenology, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Volume 220, 15 April 2016, Pages 141-150, ISSN 0168-1923,

Forkel, M., Migliavacca, M., Thonicke, K., Reichstein, M., Schaphoff, S., Weber, U., Carvalhais, N. (2015). Codominant water control on global interannual variability and trends in land surface phenology and greenness. Global Change Biology, 21(9), 3414-3435. doi:10.1111/gcb.12950

Galvagno, M., Wohlfahrt, G., Cremonese, E., Rossini, M., Colombo, R., Filippa, G., Julitta, T., Manca, G., Siniscalco, C., di Cella, U Morra, and Migliavacca, M., Phenology and carbon dioxide source/sink strength of a subalpine grassland in response to an exceptionally short snow season (2013) Environmental Research Letters, 8 (2), 25008.

Richardson, A.D., Keenan, T.F., Migliavacca, M., Ryu, Y., Sonnentag, O., Toomey, M. Climate change, phenology, and phenological control of vegetation feedbacks to the climate system (2013) Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 169, pp. 156-173.

Migliavacca, M., Sonnentag, O., Keenan, T.F., Cescatti, A., O'Keefe, J., Richardson, A.D. On the uncertainty of phenological responses to climate change, and implications for a terrestrial biosphere model (2012) Biogeosciences, 9 (6), pp. 2063-2083.

Migliavacca, M., Galvagno M., Cremonese E., Rossini M., Meroni M., Sonnentag O.,Cogliati S., Manca G., Diotri F., Busetto L., Cescatti A., Colombo R., Fava F., Morra di Cella U.,Pari E., Siniscalco C. & Richardson A.D. Using digital repeat photography and eddy covariance data to model grassland phenology and photosynthetic CO2 uptake (2012) Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 151, 1325-1337.

Migliavacca, M., Cremonese E., Colombo R., Busetto L., Galvagno M., Ganis L., Meroni M., PariE., Rossini M., Siniscalco C. and Morra di Cella U. (2008). European larch phenology in the Alps: can we grasp the role of ecological factors by combining field observations and inverse modelling? International Journal of Biometeorology. Vol. 52, No. 7, pp. 587-605.

Ecosystem modelling and integration with remote/proximal sensing

Perez-Priego, O., Guan, J., Rossini, M., Fava, F., Wutzler, T., Moreno, G., Carvalhais, N., Carrara, A., Kolle, O., Julitta, T., Schrumpf, M., Reichstein, M., Migliavacca, M. (2015). Sun-induced Chlorophyll fluorescence and PRI improve remote sensing GPP estimates under varying nutrient availability in a typical Mediterranean savanna ecosystem. Biogeosciences Discussions, 12(14), 11891-11934. doi:10.5194/bgd-12-11891-2015 (Accepted for publication in Biogeoscience)

Musavi, T., Mahecha, M.D., Migliavacca, M., Reichstein, M., van de Weg, M. J., van Bodegom, P. M., Bahn, M., Wirth, C., Reich, P. B., Schrodt, F., Kattge, J. (2015). The imprint of plants on ecosystem functioning: A data-driven approach. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 43, 119-131. doi:10.1016/j.jag.2015.05.009.

Migliavacca, M., Dosio, A., Camia, A., Hobourg, R., Houston-Durrant, T., Kaiser, J. W., Khabarov, N., Krasovskii, A. A., Marcolla, B., Miguel-Ayanz, J. S., Ward, D. S., Cescatti, A. (2013). Modeling biomass burning and related carbon emissions during the 21st century in Europe. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences,118(4), 1732-1747. doi:10.1002/2013JG002444

Migliavacca, M.., Dosio, A., Kloster, S., Ward, DS., Camia, A., Houborg, R., Houston Durrant, T., Khabarov, N., Krasovskii, AA., San Miguel-Ayanz, J., and Cescatti, A., Modeling burned area in Europe with the Community Land Model (2013) Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences.

Houborg, R., Cescatti, A., Migliavacca, M., Kustas, W.P. Satellite retrievals of leaf chlorophyll and photosynthetic capacity for improved modeling of GPP (2013) Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 177, pp 10-23.

Migliavacca, M.; Meroni, M.; Busetto, L.; Colombo, R.; Zenone, T.; Matteucc,i G.; Manca, G. and Seufert, G. Modeling Gross Primary Production of Agro-Forestry Ecosystems by Assimilation of Satellite Derived Information in a Process-Based Model (2009) Sensors, 9(2), 922-942; doi:10.3390/s90200922.

Rossini, M., Meroni, M., Migliavacca, M., Manca, G., Cogliati, S., Busetto, L., Picchi, V., Cescatti, A., Seufert, G. and Colombo, R., High resolution field spectroscopy measurements for estimating gross ecosystem production in a rice field (2010) Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 150: 1283-1296

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