The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is a global leading technological research institute and part of the Hermann von Helmholtz Association, one of the most important German science organizations. The Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, Atmospheric Environmental Research (IMK-IFU) has a focus on biosphere-atmosphere-hydrosphere interactions, with an outstanding tradition in GHG research, the translation of ecological process knowledge in biogeochemical process models and environmental assessment studies. The proposers have been intensively working on the investigation of ecosystem C and N turnover, plant performance and associated biosphere-atmosphere-hydrosphere matter exchange processes since more than two decades. The results obtained from national and international field and laboratory studies have been used for the development and application of mechanistic biogeochemical models. In several studies these models have been applied for arable, grassland and forest ecosystems on site, regional and even global scales to contribute to a better understanding of land use/ management and predicted climate changes on biosphere-atmosphere-hydrosphere matter exchange processes. Over the last years detailed descriptions of C and N turnover processes in soils, such as mineralization, nitrification or denitrification including microbial biomass and activities, were developed and integrated in a detailed mechanistic ecosystem model now called LandscapeDNDC. LandscapeDNDC can be run on site and regional scale, at the latter optionally also coupled to regionally distributed hydrological models. Emphasis in model development was also put into state of the art software design which allows i) simulation of resource demanding tasks such as model application at spatial domains with a high number of grid cells, uncertainty assessment and quantification as well as scenario studies and ii) efficient extensions of model functionalities like data assimilation as proposed in ECOPOTENTIAL.


Principal investigator:

Ralf Kiese received his PhD in 2002 from the University of Freiburg. From 2005 he is Lecturer at the University of Freiburg and Senior scientist at KIT, IMK-IFU, and from 2011 he is head of Research Group Ecosystem. He has his research focus in investigating impacts of global environmental changes on ecosystem matter fluxes, mainly carbon and nitrogen. Thereby he uses innovative state of the art measuring and mechanistic modelling techniques to characterize and quantify C and N turnover processes and associated matter fluxes in natural and managed ecosystems at site and landscape scale. He has experience in development, testing and application of complex biogeochemical models, such as LandscapeDNDC, including scenario studies, uncertainty assessment and quantification. He is steering member of DFG-FG KiLi, and member of TERENO coordination board. He is also involved in several national and international projects and has published his research (H-index 23) in highly recognized peer reviewed journals. His role in Ecopotential is the application of the process-based model LandscapeDNDC for C and N cycling and associated greenhouse gas exchange and nutrient leaching in terrestrial (montane) ecosystems.