Non-vascular vegetation, such as lichens and bryophytes, are an often overlooked, but crucial component of ecosystems around the world. They are the dominant vegetation type in many deserts and polar regions and they cover vast areas on the boreal forest floor and as epiphytes in tropical and temperate forests.
I am interested in interactions of these fascinating organisms with their environment, such as
- Effects on global carbon and nutrient cycles and climate: Lichens and bryophytes not only contribute significantly to terrestrial productivity, they may also play an important role for the protection of permafrost soil carbon, due to their insulating effect on the ground. They release considerable quantities of nitrogen trace gases and they are global key players in biotic nitrogen fixation.
- Relations between climate and large-scale patterns of functional diversity of lichens and bryophytes, which may differ from those of vascular plants.
- Impacts of non-vascular vegetation on global climate in the geological past: Early forms of lichens and bryophytes may have strongly increased weathering rates at the land surface and thus caused an interval of glaciations 450 million years ago, due to an associated drawdown of atmospheric CO2.
As a tool to predict and quantify the numerous biogeochemical effects of non-vascular vegetation, I use a process-based model, which simulates photosynthesis, respiration, growth and spatial coverage. The model accounts explicitly for functional diversity by simulating multiple physiological strategies. The model can be combined with global land surface models to quantify effects on other parts of the ecosystem, such as the soil.
Recently I moved to the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany: email@example.com
Latest scientific papers
Carbon stocks and fluxes in the high latitudes: Using site-level data to evaluate Earth system models
Estimating global nitrous oxide emissions by lichens and bryophytes with a process-based productivity model