Working group Soil Ecology and Soil Genesis
Soil ecological and pedogenetic processes control relevant functions of our soils in the global earth system. Soils are the basis of our food production, they inhabit for a wide variety of organism and substantially affect the biodiversity of our landscapes. Soils are important archives for environmental and climate change and sources and sinks of greenhouse gases.
The working group “Soil Ecology and Soil Genesis” conducts research in the area of soil diversity and soil functions in the terrestrial biosphere. An important research focus is the formation, turnover and release of soil-borne organic carbon as well as the emission of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) from natural and anthropogenically affected soils and landscapes.
Current international research projects deal in particular with the impact of climate change on the storage and turnover of organic carbon in soils affected by permafrost (e.g. DFG Excellence Cluster “Climate, Climatic Change, and Society" (CLICCS), the BMBF project “Carbon in Permafrost” (KoPf), carbon dynamics in forest soils (DFG project “Carbon dynamics and fixation in forest soils”). The working group conducts its research in close cooperation with national (e.g. AWI, GFZ, Cologne University, MPI Hamburg and MPI Jena) and international research institutions (e.g. Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute St. Petersburg, State University St. Petersburg, Permafrost Institute Yakutsk). Observations, field and laboratory experiments and mathematical modelling are applied to answer the relevant research questions in the frame of the “Centre for Earth System Research and Sustainability” (CEN) at the Universität Hamburg.