Understanding impacts of 21st century extreme events on global forest ecosystems through the lens of plant water transport
Project descriptionExtreme events such as droughts are increasing in frequency and intensity throughout the globe, threatening many global ecosystems. Terrestrial biosphere models such as QUINCY are powerful tools that can help improve our understanding of current extreme events and project impacts of future climate scenarios. A crucial aspect of these models that determines whether forests survive or succumb to drought stress is their ability to simulate plant water transport correctly. Multiple experimental sites across European forests are dedicated to studying the effects of drought stress on vegetation, particularly the plant hydraulic architecture. These experiments are constantly developed further, for example, novel methods are now able to provide high resolution measurements of sapflow, plant water storage, and growth of individual trees. However, most of the novel knowledge generated by these experiments is not yet picked up by ecosystem models, leaving much room for model improvement. The PhD candidate will undertake two primary tasks: (1) conducting a meta analysis to synergize drought stress impacts on key European tree species across experimental sites and (2) improve the process-based ecosystem model QUINCY’s predictive capabilities by incorporating novel experimental and remote sensing data.
Working group & planned collaborationsThe PhD candidate will join the Terrestrial Biosphere modelling (TBM) at the Department of Biogeochemical Signaling and will also be affiliated with Friedrich Schiller University, Jena. The TBM group consists of skilled process based modelers and (amongst other things) is developing the ecosystem model QUINCY. Intensive collaboration with experimentalists are expected, specifically the Hainich experimental site (Anke Hildebrandt), the KROOF experimental site (Thorsten Grams), the Swiss canopy crane experiment II (Ansgar Kahmen) and the University of Trier (Matthias Arend).
RequirementsApplications to the IMPRS-gBGC are open to well-motivated and highly-qualified students from all countries. Prerequisites for this PhD project are:
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