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Prof. Dr. Christiane Werner

Telefon: +49 (0)761 203 8301

Email: c.werner(at)


Professur für Ökosystemphysiologie

Institut für Geo- und Umweltwissenschaften

Fakultät für Umwelt und natürliche Ressourcen


Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Georges-Köhler-Allee 053 / 054

79110 Freiburg



Current scientific projects


ERC Project VOCO2




Google Scholar


Research interest

As a plant ecophysiologist by training I am interested in plant and ecosystem responses to climate change, investigating processes from molecular to ecosystem scale with experimental lab and field work. Core areas of interest are: plant ecophysiology and ecosystem functioning, stress ecophysiology, adaptations to climate change, stable isotope ecology, primary and secondary metabolism, VOC, photoinhibition, respiration, photosynthesis and water relations, ecosystem-atmosphere exchange, ecohydrology, Mediterranean, invasive species, plant and ecosystem interactions, competition, global change


University Education and Professional Experience

2015 - present

Full Professor of Ecosystem Physiology, University Freiburg (W3)

2012 - 2015

Full Professor of AgroEcosystem Research, University Bayreuth (W2)


Junior Professor of Ecophysiological Plant Ecology, University Bielefeld (W1)

2003 - present

Head of the stable isotope laboratory


Scientific assistant, University Bielefeld


Post-doc in the European project NETCARB, Lisbon, Portugal


Research assistant in Ecological Restoration, University of Lisbon


PhD, University of Bielefeld, Germany “Evaluation of structural and functional adaptations of Mediterranean macchia species to drought stress with emphasis on the effects of photoinhibition on whole-plant carbon gain – a modelling approach”  (summa cum laude)


ERASMUS student at the University of Lisbon


Graduation (Diploma) of Biology, University of Cologne "Water relations and photosynthesis on cork- oak with special reference to the effect of bark-stripping"


Grants, Awards and Prizes


ERC consolidator grantee


Wilhelm Pfeffer Prize for best-Paper of the German Botanical Society (DBG) for Rascher et al. 2012, Ecol Letters

2000 - 2001

Post-doc grant of the EC-Network Project NETCARB Network for Ecophysiology in Closing Terrestrial CARbon Budget) at the University of Lisbon, Portugal


Best “Dissertation 2000”, Award, Lippisch-Westf. Universitätsgesellschaft


Karl Peter Grotemeyer-Prize, award for outstanding achievements and personal engagement in teaching


Support for committed female scientist; University of Bielefeld



Academic Services and Synergistic Activities

  • Editor in Chief Plant Biology (since 2021)
  • Editorial board Funct. Plant Ecol since 2011, Scientific Data since 2015, Tree Physiol (2003),
  • Review panel for the German (DFG), Austrian (FWF), Swiss (SNF), France (ASF), US (NSF), Israel (ISF) and Portuguese (FCT) national science foundation’s and reviewed papers for over 15 years in 30 scientific journals
  • Since 2017 – Member of the scientific board of Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (MPI Geoscience Jena)
  • co-organization of conference, summer schools and symposia, convener at AGU
  • Jury member of the Habfast-Association of the German Association for Stable Isotope Research
  • Mentor for young female scientists within the dual-career program (TANDEMplus etc.)
  • mentoring ERASMUS students (Portugal, Greece)


Selected Publications

  • Pugliese, Giovanni; Ingrisch, Johannes; Meredith, Laura K.; Pfannerstill, Eva Y.; Klüpfel, Thomas; Meeran, Kathiravan; Byron, Joseph; Purser, Gemma; Gil-Loaiza, Juliana; van Haren, Joost; Dontsova, Katerina; Kreuzwieser, Jürgen; Ladd, S. Nemiah; Werner, Christiane; Williams, Jonathan (2023).Effects of drought and recovery on soil volatile organic compound fluxes in an experimental rainforest. Nature Communications, 14(1), 5064. DOI: 1038/s41467-023-40661-8
  • Honeker, Linnea K; Pugliese, Giovanni; Ingrisch, Johannes; Fudyma, Jane; Gil-Loaiza, Juliana; Carpenter, Elizabeth; Singer, Esther; Hildebrand, Gina; Shi, Lingling; Hoyt, David W.; Krechmer, Jordan E.; Claflin, Megan; Ayala-Ortiz, Christian; Freire-Zapata, Viviana; Pfannerstill, Eva Y.; Daber, L. Erik; Meeran, Kathiravan; Dippold, Michaela A.; Kreuzwieser, Jürgen; Williams, Jonathan; Ladd, S. Nemiah; Werner, Christiane; Tfaily, Malak M.; Meredith, Laura K. (2023). Drought re-routes soil microbial carbon metabolism towards emission of volatile metabolites in an artificial tropical rainforest. Nature Microbiology, 8(8), 1480–1494. DOI: 10.1038/s41564-023-01432-9
  • Byron, Joseph; Kreuzwieser, Jürgen; Purser, Gemma; van Haren, Joost; Ladd, S. Nemiah; Meredith, Laura K.; Werner, Christiane; Williams, Jonathan (2022). Chiral monoterpenes reveal forest emission mechanisms and drought responses. Nature, 609(7026), 307–312. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05020-5
  • Haberstroh, Simon, Werner, Christiane (2022). The role of species interactions for forest resilience to drought. Plant Biology, 24(7), 1098-1107. DOI: 10.1111/plb.13415
  • Werner, Christiane; Meredith, Laura K.;  Ladd, S. Nemiah; Ingrisch, Johannes; Kübert, Angelika; van Haren, Joost; Bahn, Michael; Bailey, Kinzie; Bamberger, Ines; Beyer, Matthias; Blomdahl, Daniel; Byron, Joseph; Daber, Erik; Deleeuw, Jason; Dippold, Michaela; Fudyma, Jane; Gil-Loaiza, Juliana; Honeker, Linnea K.; Hu, Jia; Huang, Jianbei; Klüpfel, Thomas; Krechmer, Jordan; Kreuzwieser, Jürgen; Kühnhammer, Kathrin; Lehmann, Marco M.; Meeran, Kathiravan; Misztal, Pawel K.; Ng, Wei-Ren; Pfannerstill, Eva; Pugliese, Giovanni; Purser, Gemma; Roscioli, Joseph; Shi, Lingling; Tfaily, Malak; Williams, Jonathan (2021). Ecosystem fluxes during drought and recovery in an experimental forest. Science, 374(6574), 1514-1518. DOI: 10.1126/science.abj6789
  • Werner, Christiane; Fasbender, Lukas; Romek, Katarzyna M.; Yáñez-Serrano, Ana Maria; Kreuzwieser, Jürgen; (2020). Heat waves change plant carbon allocation among primary and secondary metabolism altering CO2 assimilation, respiration, and VOC emissions. Frontiers in plant science, 11, 1242. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2020.01242
  • Schuldt, Bernhard; Buras, Allan; Arend, Matthias; Vitasse, Yann; Beierkuhnlein, Carl; Damm, Alexander; Gharun, Mana; Grams, Thorsten E. E.; Hauck, Markus; Hajek, Peter; Hartmann, Henrik; Hilbrunner, Erika; Hoch, Günter; Holloway-Phillips, Meisha; Körner, Christian; Larysch, Elena; Lübbe, Torben; Nelson, Daniel B.; Rammig, Anja; Rigling, Andreas; Rose, Laura; Ruehr, Nadine K.; Schumann, Katja; Weiser, Frank; Werner, Christiane; Wohlgemuth, Thomas; Zang, Christian S.; Kahmen, Ansgar (2020). A first assessment of the impact of the extreme 2018 summer drought on Central European forests. Basic and Applied Ecology, 45, 86-103. DOI: 10.1016/j.baae.2020.04.003
  • Dubbert Maren, Werner, Christiane (2019). Water fluxes mediated by vegetation: Emerging insights at the soil and atmosphere interfaces. New Phytologist, 221(4), 1754–1763. DOI: 10.1111/nph.15547
  • Craine, Joseph M.; Elmore, Aandrew J.; Wang, Lixin; Aranibar, Julieta; Bauters, Marijn; Boeckx, Pascal; Crowley, Brooke E.; Dawes, Melissa A.; Delzon, Sylvain; Fajardo, Alex; Fang, Yunting; Fujiyoshi, Lei; Gray, Alan; Guerrieri, Rossella; Gundale, Michael J.; Hawke, David J.; Hietz, Peter; Jonard, Mathieu; Kearsley, Elizabeth; Kenzo, Tanaka; Makarov, Mikhail; Marañón-Jiménez, Sara; McGlynn, Terrence P.; McNeil, Brenden E.; Mosher, Stella G.; Nelson, David M.; Peri, Pablo L.; Roggy, Jean Christophe; Sanders-DeMott, Rebecca; Song, Minghua; Szpak, Paul; Templer, Pamela H.; Van der Colff, Dewidine; Werner, Christiane; Xu, Xingliang; Yang, Yang; Yu, Guirui; Zmudczyńska-Skarbek, Katarzyna (2018). Isotopic evidence for oligotrophication of terrestrial ecosystems. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 2(11), 1735-1744. DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0694-0
  • Große-Stoltenberg, André; Hellmann, Christine; Thiele, Jan; Werner, Christiane; Oldeland, Jens (2018). Early detection of GPP-related regime shifts after plant invasion by integrating imaging spectroscopy with airborne LiDAR. Remote Sensing of Environment, 209, 780–792. DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2018.02.038
  • Hellmann, Christine; Große-Stoltenberg, André; Thiele, Jan; Oldeland, Jens; Werner, Christiane (2017). Heterogeneous environments shape invader impacts: integrating environmental, structural and functional effects by isoscapes and remote sensing. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 4118. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-04480-4
  • Werner, Christiane; Dubbert, Maren (2016). Resolving rapid dynamics of soil–plant–atmosphere interactions. New Phytologist, Commentary, 210(3), 767–769.
  • Caldeira, Maria C.; Lecomte, Xavier; David, Teresa S.; Pinto, Joaquim G.; Bugalho, Miguel N.; Werner, Christiane (2015). Synergistic effects of plant invasion and extreme drought reduce ecosystem functioning and resilience. Scientific Reports, 5(1), 15110. DOI: 10.1038/srep15110
  • Werner, C.; Schnyder, H.; Cuntz, M.; Keitel, F. C.; Zeeman, M.J.; Dawson, T. E.; Badeck, F.-W.; Brugnoli, E.; Ghashghaie, J.; Grams, T. E. E.; Kayler, Z.; Lakatos, M.; Lee, X.; Máguas, C.; Ogée, J.; Rascher, K. G.; Siegwolf, R.; Unger, S.; Welker, J.; Wingate, L.; Gessler, A. (2012). Progress and challenges in using stable isotopes to trace plant carbon and water relations across scales. Biogeosciences, 9(8), 3083-3111. DOI: 10.5194/bg-9-3083-2012
  • Rascher, K.G., Hellmann, C.; Máguas, C.; Werner, C. (2012). Community scale 15N isoscapes: tracing the spatial impact of an exotic N2-fixing invader. Ecology Letters, 15(5), 484–491. DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01761.x awarded with the Wilhelm Pfeffer Prize of the German Botanical Society for the Best-Paper
  • Werner, C.; Gessler, A. (2011). Diel variations in the carbon isotope composition of respired CO2 and associated carbon sources: a review of dynamics and mechanisms. Biogeosciences 8(9), 2437–2459. DOI: 10.5194/bg-8-2437-2011
  • Unger, Stephan; Máguas, Cristina; Pereira, João Santos; David, Teresa S.; Werner, Christiane (2010). The influence of precipitation pulses on soil respiration – Assessing the “Birch Effect” by stable carbon isotopes. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 42(10), 1800-1810. DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2010.06.01