Responses of plants and ecosystems to global environmental change

Plants are fundamental components of the earth system. Their ability to assimilate atmospheric CO2 and to transpire H2O drives the biogeochemical cycles in ecosystems and determines as such the provision of ecosystem goods and services that we as people depend on. In the Physiological Plant Ecology Group at ETH Zurich we investigate the physiological responses of plants to their environmental in order to understand how plants govern the function of ecosystems in a changing world. Our research operates at different scales that range from the leaf to the landscape level and links plant ecophysiology to plant population dynamics and ecosystem biogeochemistry.


  • Rapid atmospheric transport and large-scale deposition of recently synthesized plant waxes 
    Nelson, Daniel B.; Ladd, S. Nemiah; Schubert, Carsten J.; et al. 
  • Title: Cryogenic vacuum artifacts do not affect plant water-uptake studies using stable isotope analysis 
    Author(s): Newberry, S. L.; Nelson, D. B.; Kahmen, A. 
    Source: ECOHYDROLOGY, 10 (8): DEC 2017 
    Document Type: Article (Details)
  • Title: Hydrological and ecological changes in western Europe between 3200 and 2000 years BP derived from lipid biomarker delta D values in lake Meerfelder Maar sediments 
    Author(s): Rach, O.; Engels, S.; Kahmen, A.; et al. 
    Source: QUATERNARY SCIENCE REVIEWS, 172: 44-54 SEP 15 2017 
    Document Type: Article (Details)
  • Title: Application of Mycorrhiza and Soil from a Permaculture System Improved Phosphorus Acquisition in Naranjilla 
    Author(s): Symanczik, Sarah; Gisler, Michelle; Thonar, Cecile; et al. 
    Source: FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE, 8: JUL 19 2017 
    Document Type: Article (Details)
  • Title: Oxygen isotope fractionations across individual leaf carbohydrates in grass and tree species 
    Author(s): Lehmann, Marco M.; Gamarra, Bruno; Kahmen, Ansgar; et al. 
    Source: PLANT CELL AND ENVIRONMENT, 40 (8): 1658-1670 AUG 2017 
    Document Type: Article (Details)
Ansgar Kahmen Univ Basel

Prof. Dr. Ansgar Kahmen
University of Basel
Dept of Environmental Sciences – Botany
4056 Basel

Tel. +41 (0)61 267 35 71

Research topics

  • The responses of plants and ecosystems to environmental change
  • Biological archives as long-term indicators for the effects of environmental change on plants and ecosystems
  • The effects of plant diversity for ecosystem functions
  • Competition and complementary use of nutrients by plants and microbes
  • Development of stable isotope tools for ecological research



  • The stable isotope composition of plant-derived biomarkers for paleohydrological research