Swiss Federal Institute for Forest Snow and Landscape Research WSL
I am interested in the impacts of climate change on cold-adapted ecosystems in relation to vegetation community dynamics and carbon cycling. The focus of my current work is on the interplay between carbon and nutrients in the circumpolar region where permafrost thaws and becomes rapidly colonised by higher plants, as well as in mountain areas where treelines expand and traditional land use changes. I rely heavily on the use of isotopes to follow ecological processes at the interface between plants, microbes and soils along natural climate gradients, or in field manipulated and controlled environmental conditions.
Fate of carbon in thawing permafrost: an interplay between soils and local vegetation
Within this project my colleagues and I assess the ecological interactions between experimentally thawed permafrost and expanding vascular plant vegetation in different circumpolar regions. “Greening-up” of Subarctic and Arctic regions will cause increased plant growth and thus increased root exudation. Our ambition is to compare the response of plants, microbes and soils to an increased supply of plant root exudates within the three main types of permafrost soils: organic (peat deposits), cryoturbated mineral (sorted and non-sorted circles) and non-cryoturbated mineral (Yedoma). We use a suite of experimental approaches to simulate in situ permafrost thaw scenarios, integrating thereby both spatial and temporal complexity. With my work on natural abundance of isotopic markers (coupled radiocarbon 14C and stable isotope 13C measurements) I contribute to this project by distinguishing among various sources of ecosystem respiration: plant shoots and roots, active layer soils, and permafrost. This provides accurate and non-destructive information on the degree of permafrost decomposition in relation to advanced plant growth and will ultimately generate a first estimate of in situ rhizosphere priming effects in spatially representative types of circumpolar permafrost soils.
Ellen Dorrepaal, Umeå University
The Swedish Research Council (VR to Ellen Dorrepaal)
Formas (Ellen Dorrepaal)
Knut och Alice Wallenbergs Stiftelse (Ellen Dorrepaal)
Mark Garnett, NERC Radiocarbon Facility, Glasgow, UK
Frida Keuper, French National Institute for Agricultural Research, France
Vincent Jassey, French National Centre for Scientific Research, France
Robert Mills, Lancaster University, UK
Tomas Walker, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
Bjorn Robroek, University of Southampton, UK
Andreas Richter, University of Vienna, Austria
Luca Bragazza, University of Ferrara, Italy
Frank Hagedorn, Die Eidgenössische Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft, Switzerland
Michael Bahn, University of Innsbruck, Austria
My research in the news!