Environmental Physiology and Functional Ecology

Soils, plants and ecosystems 


Biocrusts researchBiological soil crusts - BrandenburgFunctional ecologyRestoration ecology of mining sites, Lower Lusatia, BrandenburgLinking plant ecophysiology and microclimate - South AfricaIntegrated landscapes in South AfricaEcological Systems of the Geo-Biosphere - Ökologie der Erde -


  • Research themes

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Plant Ecophysiology and Functional Ecology

Ecophysiology represents the study of short-term acclimation and long-term adaptation of plants to changing environmental conditions. These includes photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, water and mineral uptake. The research range from physiological processes of plants to studies on soil-plant interactions within ecosystems. A key question is the integration of plant ecophysiology into ecosystem functioning and development. Read more



Biological Soil Crusts - Brandenburg

In many ecosystems of the world biological soil crusts play an important role for ecosystem processes. These biocrusts are assemblages of cyanobacteria, green algae, bacteria mosses, liverworts, fungi and/or lichens. BSC are highly stress tolerant under extreme environmental conditions. The understanding of pattern formations and interactions with biogeochemical and biotic processes are important for ecological theory and for applications in restoration ecology. Read more


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Restoration Ecology of Post-Mining Sites - Brandenburg

Open-cast mining are often large scale disturbances, which affects entire landscapes and ecosystem processes.  These initial soils, consisting of excavated and dumped material, are characterized by a high vulnerability to erosion, low water holding capacity, lack of nutrients, low pH or sparse vegetation. Such harsh human impacts create the need for remediation and restoration measures for mining regions that address classical agricultural services, forestry and  nature conservation. Read more


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Microclimatology and ecophysiology  - South Africa

It is crucial to understand plant responses to combinations of water and nutrient availability for the development of sustainable plant production systems in drylands. Our research aim is to integrate ecological based results into agricultural production systems. Focus of our research are physiological processes of tree-crop interactions in agroforestry systems and their relations to microclimate and soil properties in South Africa. Read more



  • New publications
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Identification of spatial pattern of photosynthesis hotspots in biological soil crusts by combining chlorophyll fluorescence imaging and multispectral BNDVI images

For the evaluation of biocrusts functions and their impact on soil carbon pools, the analysis of the interrelationship between photosynthetic activity and the variations of spatial distribution pattern and types of biocrust is indispensable. For this purpose, an image processing approach was applied that combined chlorophyll fluorescence analyses and multispectral BNDVI to comprehensively characterize the spatial patterns of photosynthetic hotspots in biological soil crusts. Read more...

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