The general theme of research in this group is on trace gas and energy exchange between ecosystems and the atmosphere and how it is directly/indirectly modulated by human interference. We are interested in these exchange processes from both ends – how the physical environment, biotic controls and humans affect the ability of ecosystems to act as sources/sinks for matter and energy and how the functioning of ecosystems feeds back on the state and dynamics of the atmosphere. Our research approach involves the coordinated use of experimental measurements and theoretical models and ranges in spatial scale from leaves, through plant canopies and the landscape and in temporal scale from seconds through hours, days and years.

At present, the group focusses on the global carbonyl sulfide (COS) cycle and on the use of COS as a tracer for gross primary productivity, as well as on carbon monoxide, a climate-relevant trace gas whose ecosystem source/sink strength has been overlooked in the past, and the importance of advection for ecosystem carbon budgets. We work in grasslands, forests and lakes, from the Mediterranean over the Alpine to the Boreal zone. Since 2001, the group is operating the FLUXNET site Neustift (AT-Neu), a managed temperate mountain grassland.


Group Webpage

Group Members

MSc students
Anna Güttersberger
Michaela Schwarz
Lorenzo Barbieri

Recent group members

Karolina Sakowska Dr., Sylvie Pighini PhD, Alberto Algarra-Alarcon PhD, Peng Zhao PhD (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University,
Suzhou, China), Dr. Lukas Hörtnagl (ETH Zürich), Mastaneh Ahrar, PhD, Federico Carotenuto, PhD (CNR Firenze) and former MSc students: Ulisse Gomarasca, Daniel Willeit, Noemie Schintgen, Tamara Laterza, Karl Krainer, Petra Schattanek, Sabrina Obwegeser, Christoph Irschick, Sebastian Pilloni, Christian Anfang

Current and past projects

AustroSIF Early stress detection in Austrian ecosystems with suninduced chlorophyll fluorescence
funded by FFG | 2021-2023 | principal investigator (Georg Wolfahrt)

Effect of climate extremes on grapevine production in South Tyrol: early detection of abiotic stress and consequences for vine quality
funded by Autonome Provinz Bozen – Südtirol | 2020-2022| principal investigator (Georg Wohlfahrt)

Constraining terrestrial gross primary productivity by joint measurements of the carbonyl sulfide exchange and sun-induced fluorescence
funded by FWF | 2019-2021 | principal investigator (Georg Wohlfahrt) 

Soil carbonyl sulfide consumption, production and exchange with the atmosphere
funded by FWF | 2019-2022 | principal investigator (Georg Wohlfahrt)

COS emission by vascular plants under biotic and abiotic stress
funded by TWF| 2019-2021 | principal investigator (Felix Spielmann)

AgroClim Huaraz: Spatio-temporal variability in water availability and demand in the Peruvian Andes
funded by ÖAW | 2019-2021 | project partner

Methane emissions from lakes in the Alpine Region
funded by Autonome Provinz Bozen – Südtirol | 2017-2020 | principal investigator (Georg Wohlfahrt)

Cycling of carbon and water in mountain ecosystems under changing climate and land
funded by Autonome Provinz Bozen – Südtirol | 2017-2020 | project partner (Georg Wohlfahrt)

Carbonyl sulfide and sun-induced fluorescence as joint constraints on terrestrial carbon cycling |
EU-Marie Curie Actions Individual Fellowship | 2018-2019 | principal investigator (Georg Wohlfahrt)

Constraining gross primary productivity by concurrent ecosystem-scale measurements of sun-induced fluorescence and the uptake of carbonyl sulfide | Forschungsförderung LFU | 2017 | principal investigator (Albin Hammerle)

Carbonyl sulfide exchange between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere
funded by FWF | 2015-2017 | principal investigator (Georg Wohlfahrt)

Land-atmosphere carbon monoxide exchange
funded by FWF | 2014-2018 | principal investigator (Albin Hammerle)

Influence of climate extremes on carbon dynamics across the boundaries of aquatic ecosystems
funded by ÖAW | 2014-2018 | project partner

On the role of advection for the net carbon dioxide exchange of short-statured ecosystems in complex terrain
funded by FWF | 2014-2017 | principal investigator

Carbonylsulfid-Austausch zwischen terrestrischen Ökosystemen und der  Atmosphäre: Die Rolle des Bodens
funded by TWF| 2015-2016 | principal investigator (Florian Kitz)

Development of a method/measurement system for imaging acquisition of reflectance data in the near-infraed wave band
funded by FFG | 2013-2014 | principal investigator | collaboration with GRID-IT

HiResAlp: An innovative framework for the integration of multisource data to determine soil moisture and evapotranspiration at high resolution in Alpine regions
funded by Autonome Provinz Bozen – Südtirol | 2013-2015 | project partner

Fluxes of biogenic oxygenated volatile organic compounds between mountain grassland ecosystems and the atmosphere
funded by FWF | 2011-2014 | principal investigator

HydroAlp: Modelling the interaction between the water cycle, vegetation and climate in Alpine environments (funded by Autonome Provinz Bozen - Südtirol, 2011-2013, project partner)

GrassClim: Interactive effects of changes in climate and management on the yield and carbon dioxide source/sink strength of grasslands (Sparkling Science project funded by BM.W_F, 2010-2012, principal investigator)

GHG-Europe (funded by EU FP 7, 2010-2013, project partner)

Development of a cavity ring-down sensor for real-time measurement of atmospheric mercury concentrations and fluxes (funded by NSF, 2009-2012, project partner)

Measuring and modelling fluxes of volatile organic compounds (VOC) between mountain grassland ecosystems and the atmosphere (funded by FWF, 2007-2010, principal investigator)

Measuring and modelling fluxes of volatile organic compounds (VOC) between mountain grassland ecosystems and the atmosphere (funded by TWF, 2008-2010, principal investigator)

Plant growth in a CO2-rich future (Sparkling Science project funded by BM.W_F, 2008-2009, project partner)

A comparative analysis of the net ecosystem CO2, H2O and energy exchange of mountain meadows (funded by FWF, 2005-2007, principal investigator)

A comparative analysis of the net ecosystem CO2, H2O and energy exchange of mountain meadows (funded by TWF, 2005-2007, principal investigator)

Effects of land-use changes on sources, sinks and fluxes of carbon in European mountain areas (funded by EU FP5, 2001-2004, project partner)

Development of a soil-vegetation-atmosphere-transfer (SVAT) model for simulation of mass and energy exchange in mountain grassland ecosystems (funded by FWF, 2000-2003, project partner)

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