Responses of plants and ecosystems to global environmental change

Physiological Plant Ecology
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.


  • Losing half the conductive area hardly impacts the water status of mature trees
    Dietrich, L; Hoch, G; Kahmen, A; Korner, C
    SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 8 10.1038/s41598-018-33465-0 OCT 9 2018
  • Employing stable isotopes to determine the residence times of soil water and the temporal origin of water taken up by Fagus sylvatica and Picea abies in a temperate forest
    Brinkmann, N; Seeger, S; Weiler, M; Buchmann, N; Eugster, W; Kahmen, A
    NEW PHYTOLOGIST, 219 (4):1300-1313; 10.1111/nph.15255 SEP 2018
  • Daily stem diameter variations can predict the canopy water status of mature temperate trees
    Dietrich, Lars; Zweifel, Roman; Kahmen, Ansgar
    TREE PHYSIOLOGY   Volume: 38   Issue: 7   Pages: 941-952  DOI: 10.1093/treephys/tpy023 JUL 2018
  • H-2-fractionations during the biosynthesis of carbohydrates and lipids imprint a metabolic signal on the H-2 values of plant organic compounds
    Cormier, Marc-Andre; Werner, Roland A.; Sauer, Peter E.; Grocke, DR; Leuenberger, MC; Wieloch, T; Schleucher, J; Kahmen, A
    NEW PHYTOLOGIST   Volume: 218   Issue: 2   Pages: 479-491 DOI: 10.1111/nph.15016   Published: APR 2018
  • Rapid atmospheric transport and large-scale deposition of recently synthesized plant waxes 
    Nelson, Daniel B.; Ladd, S. Nemiah; Schubert, Carsten J.; et al. 
  • Cryogenic vacuum artifacts do not affect plant water-uptake studies using stable isotope analysis 
    Newberry, S. L.; Nelson, D. B.; Kahmen, A. 
    ECOHYDROLOGY, 10 (8):  DOI: 10.1002/eco.1892  DEC 2017
  • 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 
    Rach, O.; Engels, S.; Kahmen, A.; et al. 
    QUATERNARY SCIENCE REVIEWS, 172: 44-54  DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2017.07.019    SEP 15 2017
  • Oxygen isotope fractionations across individual leaf carbohydrates in grass and tree species 
    Lehmann, Marco M.; Gamarra, Bruno; Kahmen, Ansgar; et al. 
    PLANT CELL AND ENVIRONMENT, 40 (8): 1658-1670    DOI: 10.1111/pce.12974   AUG 2017
  • Application of Mycorrhiza and Soil from a Permaculture System Improved Phosphorus Acquisition in Naranjilla 
    Symanczik, Sarah; Gisler, Michelle; Thonar, Cecile; Schlaeppi, K; Van der Heijden, M; Kahmen, A; Boller, T; Mader, P
    FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE, 8:  DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2017.01263   JUL 19 2017
Ansgar Kahmen Univ Basel

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

Tel: +41 (0)61 207 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