Prof. Dr. Ansgar Kahmen

Physiological Plant Ecology Group

University of Basel
Schönbeinstrasse 6
4056 Basel

Office no.: 01.002
Phone: +41 (0)61 207 35 71
Email: ansgar.kahmen@unibas.ch

Research Interest

My research addresses the interface between plants and their environment. The goal of my work is to understand how plants function in the context of their environment and to reveal how plants shape the provision of ecosystem goods and services that human societies depend on.

Education and Professional Experience

2013-ongoingProfessor for Physiological Plant Ecology. University of Basel, Switzerland.
2011-2015Assistant Professor for Physiological Plant Ecology. ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
2010-2011 Senior Scientist. Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
2006–2009 Schrödinger and Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow. Center for Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry, University of California at Berkeley, USA.
2005–2006Postdoctoral Fellow. Institute for Plant Sciences, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
2005–2005Visiting Scientist. Forest Science Center, University of Melbourne, Australia.
2001–2004Ph.D. Student. Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany.
1994–2001Student in botany and plant ecology. University of Vienna, Austria and University of California at Santa Cruz, USA.


2016 Consolidator Grant of the European Research Council HYDROCARB (ERC).
2012 Dr.-Karleugen-Habfast-Award of the German Stable Isotope Association (GASIR) for outstanding Research using stable isotopes.
2011 Starting Grant of the European Research Council COSIWAX (ERC).
2007 Appointed Honorary Fellow at the School for Forest and Ecosystems Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia.
2007 Strasburger Award of the German Botanical Society for outstanding research in plant sciences. 

Key Publications

Kahmen A, Basler D, Hoch G, Link RM, Schuldt B, Zahnd C, Arend M (2022) Root water uptake depth determines the hydraulic vulnerability of temperate European tree species during the extreme 2018 drought. Plant Biology 24: 1224-1239.

Arend M, Link RM, Zahnd C, Hoch G, Schuldt B, Kahmen A (2022) Lack of hydraulic recovery as cause of post-drought foliage reduction and canopy deterioration in European beech. New Phytologist 234: 1195-1205.

McDowell N, Sapes G, Pivovaroff A, Adams H, Allen CD, Anderegg WRL, Arend M, Breshears DD, Brodribb T, Choat B, Cochard H, De Cáceres M, De Kauwe MG, Grossiord C, Hammond WH, Hartmann H, Hoch G, Kahmen A, Klein T, Mackay SD, Mantova M, Martínez-Vilalta J, Medlyn BE, Mencuccini M, Nardini A, Oliveira RS, Sala A, Tissue DT, Torres-Ruiz JM, Trowbridge A, Trugman AT, Wiley E, Xu C. (2022)Mechanisms of woody plant mortality under rising drought, CO2, and vapor pressure deficit. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment 3: 294-308.

Etzold S, Sterck F, Bose1 AK, Braun S, Buchmann N, Eugster W, Gessler A, Kahmen A, Peters RL, Vitasse Y, Walthert L, Ziemińska K, Zweifel R (2022) The number of growth days and not the growth period determines radial stem growth of temperate trees. Ecology Letters 25: 427-439.

Cueni F, Nelson DB, Boner M, Kahmen A (2021) Using plant physiological isotope models to counter food fraud. Scientific Reports 11(1): 1-14.

Kahmen A, Buser T, Hoch G, Grun G, Dietrich L (2021) Dynamic 2H irrigation pulse-labelling reveals rapid infiltration and mixing of precipitation in the soil and species-specific water uptake depths of trees in a temperate forest. Ecohydrology 14: e2322.

Nelson DB, Basler D, Kahmen A (2021) Precipitation isotope time series predictions from machine learning applied in Europe. PNAS 118 (26) e2023107118.  

Arend M, Link RM, Patthey R, Hoch G, Schuldt B, Kahmen A (2021) Rapid collapse of the hydraulic system as cause of drought-induced mortality in mature conifers. PNAS 118 (16): e2025251118.   

Hahn C, Lüscher A, Ernst-HaslerS, Suter M, Kahmen A (2021) Timing of drought in the growing season and strong legacy effects determine the annual productivity of temperate grasses in a changing climate. Biogeosciences 18: 585-604.   

Schuldt B, Buras A, Arend A, Vitasse Y, Beierkuhnlein C, Damm A, Gharun M, Grams T, Hauck M, Hajek P, Hartmann H, Hilbrunner E, Hoch G, Holloway-Phillips M, Körner C, Larysch E, LübbeT, Nelson DB, Rammig A, Rigling A, Rose L, K. Ruehr NK, Weiser F, Werner C, Wohlgemuth T, Zang C, Kahmen A (2020) A first assessment of the impact of the extreme 2018 summer drought on Central European forests. Basic and Applied Ecology 45: 86-103.

Hiltbrunner E, Körner C, Meier R, Braun S, Kahmen A (2019) Data do not support large-scale oligotrophication of terrestrial ecosystems. Nature Ecology & Evolution 3:1285 - 1286.   

Brinkmann N, Eugster W, Buchmann N, Kahmen A (2019) Species-specific differences in water uptake depth of mature temperate trees vary with water availability in the soil. Plant Biology 71: 21-31.

Dietrich L, Delzon S, Hoch G, Kahmen A (2019) No role for xylem embolism or carbohydrate shortage in temperate trees during the severe 2015 drought. Journal of Ecology 107: 334-349.

Brinkmann N, Seeger S, Weiler M, Buchmann N, Eugster W, Kahmen A (2018) Employing δ2H and δ 18O values to estimate mean residence time and temporal origin of soil and xylem water in a temperate forest. New Phytologist 219: 1300-1313. 

Cormier M-A, Werner RA, Saurer PE, Groecke DR, Leuenberger MC, Wieloch T, Schleucher J, Kahmen A (2018) The energy and carbon metabolism of plants affects the hydrogen isotope fractionation during the biosynthesis of organic plant compounds. New Phytologist 218: 479-491.