University of Innsbruck


Project summary

High mountain ecosystems are disproportionally affected by climatic warming since the little ice age (around 1850), enhanced by the anthropogenic climate change, because temperatures above 0 °C are directly linked to deglaciation and permafrost thawing.

In the CryoSoil_TRANSFORM project, we take a closer look at the impact of the changing cryosphere dynamics on soil dynamics, and therefore on important soil ecosystem functions such as nutrient or water storage, or flood protection of close-by populated mountain areas.

Project aims

  1. High temporal and spatial reconstruction of the cryospheric development since the little ice age;
  2. Interrelationship between cryospheric dynamics and
    • Pedogenic dynamics (e.g. solifluction, soil erosion and accumulation, initial soil development), and
    • Alteration of characteristic soil properties (physical, chemical, biological) caused by that;
  3. Transformation of the achieved knowledge into a citizen-science-cooperation between scientists and high school students in Austria.

Study sites

Our study sites are located in the Kauner Valley (Tyrol) and Martell Valley (South Tyrol). In this area, we reconstruct current and recent glacier and permafrost dynamics, and take a closer look at soil chronosequences in proglacial areas and altitudinal transects (from tree line to nival altitudes).


Bettina Knoflach Svenja Müller Veronika Deisenrieder
Bettina Knoflach
Svenja Müller
Veronika Deisenrieder
  • Cryosphere
  • Soil Microbiology
  • Soil Chemistry
  • Climate Change Economics
  • Environmental Psychology & Communication
M.Sc. Geography, University Innsbruck; B.Sc. Geography, University Innsbruck M.Sc. Environmental Planning and Ecology Engineering, TU Munich; B.Sc. Molecular Biotechnology, TU Munich M.A. Internationale Wirtschaft & Governance; B.A. Wirtschaftswissenschaften; Master‘s thesis: Anreizsysteme für öffentliche Akteure zur Einzahlung in Klimafonds
PI: o.Univ.-Prof. Dr. Johann Stötter PI: assoz. Prof. Dr. Clemens Geitner (project leader) PI: assoz. Prof. Dr. Lars Keller
Mountain Environmental Changes Boden und Landschaftsökologie Education and Communication for Sustainable Development


The CryoSoil_TRANSFORM project is closely linked to the DFG-group SEHAG of the universities of Bremen, Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Munich (TU), Innsbruck, and Vienna (TU).


ÖAW Logo

We are happy to announce that this project was enabled and sponsored by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), as a part of the research programme Forschungsprogramms Earth System Sciences (ESS).

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