Max Planck Gesellschaft

Sophie F. von Fromm
PhD student

Room: B1.003
Phone: +49 3641-576184

Email: sfromm(at)
Street address: Hans-Knöll-Str. 10, 07745 Jena, Germany

Research gate

Research Interest

My research project focuses on understanding large-scale controls on organic carbon in (sub)tropical soils in sub-Saharan Africa. I use a wide range of methods, including field measurements, statistical tools and lab techniques. In addition, I am involved in the development and maintenance of the International Soil Radiocarbon Database (ISRaD).

Curriculum Vitae

Since 2019PhD student at MPI-BGC and external PhD student at ETH Zurich
2019-2016M.Sc. Geoecology at Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany
 Thesis: "Sequential chemical extraction and radiocarbon analysis of soils in Central Germany" at MPI-BGC, Germany
2016Research stay at Embrapa Amazônia Ocidential, Manaus, Brazil
2016-2013B.Sc. Geoecology at Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany
 Thesis: "Soil respiration and soil chemistry in the Amazon Basin, Brazil"
 EcoRespira Project website
2013-2012weltwärts - volunteer at Namib Research Institute Gobabeb, Namibia


Heckman KA, Hicks Pries CE, Lawrence CR, Rasmussen C, Crow SE, Hoyt AM, von Fromm SF, Shi Z, Stoner S, McGrath C, Beem-Miller J, Berhe AA Blankinship J, Keiluweit M, Marín-Spiotta E, Monroe G, Plante AF, Schimel J, Sierra CA Thompson A, Wagai R (2021), Beyond bulk: Density fractions explain heterogeneity in global soil carbon abundance and persistence, Global Change Biology, accepted.

Matschullat J, Monteiro Bezerra de Lima R, von Fromm SF, Coimbra Martins G, Schneider M, Mathis A, Plessow A, Kibler K (2021), Sustainable land-use alternatives in tropical rainforests? – Evidence from natural and social sciences, European Geologist, accepted.

von Fromm SF, Hoyt AM, Lange M, Acquah GE, Aynekulu E, Berhe AA, Haefele SM, McGrath SP, Shepherd KD, Sila AM, Six J, Towett EK, Trumbore SE, Vågen T-G, Weullow E, Winowiecki LA, Doetterl S (2021), Continental-scale controls on soil organic carbon across sub-Saharan Africa, SOIL,

Lawrence CR, Beem-Miller J, Hoyt AM, Monroe G, Sierra CA, Stoner S, Heckman K, Blankinship JC, Crow SE, McNicol G, Trumbore S, Levine PA, Vindusková O, Todd-Brown K, Rasmussen C, Hicks Pries CE, Schädel C, McFarlane K, Doetterl S, Hatté C, He Y, Treat C, Harden JW, Torn MS, Estop-Aragonés C, Berhe AA, Keiluweit M, Della Rosa Kuhnen Á, Marín-Spiotta E, Plante AF, Thompson A, Shi Z, Schimel JP, Vaughn LJS, von Fromm SF, Wagai R (2020), An open-source database for the synthesis of soil radiocarbon data: International Soil Radiocarbon Database (ISRaD) version 1.0, Earth System Science Data,

Matschullat J, Coimbra Martins G, Enzweiler J, von Fromm SF, van Leeuwen J, Monteiro Bezerra de Lima R, Schneider M, Zurba K (2020), What influences Amazon basin upland soil chemistry? Major, minor and trace elements in the upper rhizosphere, Journal of Geochemical Exploration,

Matschullat J, Monteiro Bezerra de Lima R, von Fromm SF, Pospiech S, Ramos AM, Coimbra Martins G, Lenhart K (2019), Carbon, nitrogen and sulfur (CNS) status and dynamics in Amazon basin upland soils, Brazil, SOIL Discuss.,, not accepted after discussion.


Coming next:

Hoyt AM, Lawrence CR, Beem-Miller J, Stoner S, Hicks Pries CE, Heckman K, Sierra CA, Metzler H, von Fromm SF, Schaedel C, Crow SE, Shi Z, Randerson J, Allison S, Levine P, Torn M, Trumbore SE (2021), Improving Constraints on Soil Carbon Cycling Using Community-Based Databases, SSSA International Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, USA,

von Fromm SF, Doetterl S, Butler BM, Trumbore S, Six J, Berhe AA, Betemariam E, Haefele SM, McGrath SP, Shepherd K, Towett EK, Winowiecki LA, Hoyt A (2021), Old Soils in Sub-Saharan Africa Contain Mostly Young Carbon, Oral presentation, AGU Fall Meeting, New Orleans, LA, USA,


von Fromm SF, Hoyt AM, Butler BM, Berhe AA, Doetterl S, Haefele SM, McGrath SP, Shepherd KD, Six J, Towett EK, Winowiecki LA, Trumbore SE (2021), Soil carbon persistence linked to mineralogy across sub-Saharan Africa, solicited vPICO, EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria,

Trumbore SE, Sierra CA, Hoyt AM, Hilman B, Beem-Miller J, Stoner S, von Fromm SF, Shi Z, Randerson J (2021), Radiocarbon constraints on carbon cycling in plants and soils, Vernadsky Medal talk, EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria,

Hicks Pries CE, Heckman KA, Crow SE, von Fromm SF, Hoyt AM, Lawrence CR, Rasmussen C, Stoner S, Shi Z (2020), Climate, land cover, and parent material drive global patterns of soil C partitioning and persistence, Oral Presentation, AGU Fall Meeting.

Hicks Pries CE, Heckman KA, Lawrence CR, Rasmussen C, Crow SE, von Fromm SF, Hoyt AM, Stoner S, Beem-Miller J, Shi Z (2020), Beyond Bulk: Climate, parent material, and vegetation drive global patterns of soil carbon partitioning and persistence, Talk, Pop-Up Global Symbosia about Life and Ecology for You, Forest Ecology Lab, University of Minnesota, (Video archive).

von Fromm SF, Hoyt AM, Berhe AA, Shepherd KD, Vågen T-G, Winowiecki LA, Desta LT, Tondoh JE, Sila AM, Towett EK, Weulow E, Aynekulu E, Six J, Trumbore SE, Doetterl S (2020), Large-scale controls of soil organic carbon in (sub)tropical soils, Talk/Online Display, EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria,

von Fromm SF, Schwab VF, Trumbore SE, Tichomirowa M (2019), Parent material and depth effects on the age of radiocarbon in chemical fractions for Central German soils, Talk, EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria,

von Fromm SF, Matschullat J, Coimbra Martins G (2018), Soil respiration (CO2, CH4 and N2O) in the Amazon Basin, Brazil, Talk, Hammamet, Tunisia.


2018Scholarship Deutschlandstipendium from the German government
2016 Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz Award from the TU Bergakademie Freiberg for the best thesis in environmental science in 2016

Public outreach

2021-05Interview Ostthüringer Zeitung: "Dem Kohlenstoff in der Erde auf der Spur" (in German)
Since 2020-02PhD representative in the election committee for new PhD students. Apply here for open positions.
2019-12 Open Access Ambassador of the BGC-Institute
2019-08Interview Bento (Spiegel Online): "Brennender Regenwald: Kann man Umweltschutz und Landwirtschaft irgendwie versöhnen?" (in German)
2019-05Press release TU Bergakademie Freiberg: "Klimawandel: Masterstudentin untersucht Kohlenstoff-Speicherung in Böden" (in German)
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