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Interests

The climate is changing at a dramatic pace, with rising CO2 levels leading to increasing global temperatures and changes in the hydrological cycle. Long‐term ecosystem responses and subsequent feedbacks to climatic changes depend to a certain extent on the response of the soil system to these disturbances. Soil processes such as decomposition and nutrient cycling are mainly governed by soil microorganisms, their interactions with plants and other organisms, and abiotic soil conditions such as temperature and moisture. Climate change directly (e.g. through changes in abiotic soil conditions) and indirectly (e.g. through plant or organism community changes) feeds back on soil processes and the microbial communities that mediates these processes. However, our knowledge of microbial responses and feedbacks to soil disturbances and stresses is still quite restricted.
Therefore, my research aims at (i) advancing our understanding of forest- and agroecosystem responses to climate change, (ii) revealing fundamental mechanisms in soil biogeochemistry and microbial ecophysiology and (iii) expanding our knowledge about physiological responses of soil microbial communities to environmental change.

Current research

Currently, I am working in the INPLAMINT project (Increasing agricultural Nutrient-use efficiency by optimizing PLAnt-soil-Microorganism INTeractions; https://www.bonares.de/inplamint) within the BONARES funding initiative of the BMBF. Based on microbial stoichiometry theory, we aim to improve soil organic matter formation and the coupling of microbial mineralization and plant nutrient uptake in agricultural landscapes by targeted manipulations of organic and mineral inputs. We investigate microbial community composition, stoichiometry, as well as microbial ecophysiological responses (enzyme activities, basal and maintenance respiration, carbon and nutrient use efficiencies). A particular aim is to improve the synchronization of nutrient mobilization and crop uptake after abiotic stresses such as freezing-thawing, or drying-rewetting cycles.

Previous research

Previous research projects I was involved include:

  • Linking belowground biodiversity and ecosystem function in European forests (BioLink)

  • Disturbance Impacts on Forest Carbon Dynamics in the Calcareous Alps (C-Alp II)

  • Ecological and socioeconomic impacts of climate-induced tree diebacks in highland forests (ClimTree)

  • Carbon storage and soil biodiversity in forest landscapes in Ethiopia (Carbo-part)

  • Natural soil warming in natural grassland and a Sitka spruce forest in Iceland (ForHot)

  • Decision Making Support for Forest Ecosystem Services in Europe - Value Assessment, Synergy Effects and Trade-offs (POLYFORES)

Education

  • Postdoctoral researcher at the Terrestrial Ecology Group within the INPLAMINT project (February 2020 – ongoing) Institute of Zoology, University of Cologne, Germany

  • Doctoral Studies in Forest and Microbial Ecology (October 2015 – November 2019) Institute of Forest Ecology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) – Vienna, Austria
    Thesis: “The response of soil microbial communities to changing resources and environment - community composition shifts and physiological responses”

  • Master Studies in Organic Agriculture (October 2011 – July 2015) University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) – Vienna, Austria

  • Bachelor Studies in Agriculture (October 2007 – July 2010) University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) – Vienna, Austria