Plant Ecology - Prof. Körner (Emeritus)
From 1989 to 2014, Prof. Christian Körner held a chair of botany (plant ecology). His main research fields are plant water relations, plant responses to elevated CO2, alpine plant ecology, the causes of alpine treelines, and general guestions of stress and phenology in plants.
Christian Körner's group answered several key questions of plant-environment interaction. The group evidenced that elevated atmospheric CO2 does not (as is often assumed) stimulate plant growth or productivity, unless soil nutrients are made more available. This holds for forest and grassland, including alpine.
In a recently completed ERC project, the group showed that the range limits of major European tree species is set by the interaction of spring phenology and spring freezing resistance, and is not related to winter temperatures. The group also showed that the low temperature tree limit (the treeline) follows similar rules globally and that alpine ecosystems are threatened less by climatic change than lowland ecosystems.
A more detailed listing of research and collaborations can be found here -> link