Prof. Dr. Ansgar Kahmen

Prof. Ansgar Kahmen
Totengässlein 3
4051 Basel

Tel.: +41 (0)61 207 35 71
Fax: +41 (0)61 207 29 80

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

09/2013 - ongoing Professor for Sustainable Land Use, University of Basel, Switzerland.
10/2011 - 10/2015 Assistant Professor for Physiological Plant Ecology. ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
01/2010 - 09/2011 Senior Scientist. Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
04/2006 – 12/2009 Schrödinger and Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow. Center for Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry, University of California at Berkeley, USA.
04/2005 – 03/2006 Postdoctoral Fellow. Institute for Plant Sciences, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
01/2005 – 03/2005 Visiting Scientist. Forest Science Center, University of Melbourne, Australia.
03/2001 – 12/2004 Ph.D. Student. Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany.
10/1994 – 02/2001 Student 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. € 2.000. 

Key Publications

Brinkmann N, Eugster W, Zweifel R, Buchmann N, Kahmen A (2016) Temperate tree species show identical Response in tree water deficit but different sensitivities in sap flow to summer soil drying. Tree Physiology, 36:1508-1519.

Gamarra B, Sachse D, Kahmen A (2016) Effects if leaf water evaporative 2H enrichment and biosynthetic fractionation on leaf wax n-alkane δ2H values in C3 and C4 grasses. Plant, Cell & Environment, 39:2390-2403.

Gamarra B and Kahmen A (2016) Concentrations and δ2H values of cuticular n-alkanes vary significantly among plant organs, species and habitats in grasses from an alpine and temperate European grasslands. Oecologia, 178:981-998.

Kahmen A, Hoffmann B, Schefuß E, Arndt SK, Cernusak LS, West JB, Sachse D (2013) Leaf water deuterium enrichment shapes leaf wax n-alkane δD values of angiosperm plants II: Observational evidence and global implications. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 111:50-63.

Kahmen A, Schefuß E, Sachse D (2013) Leaf water deuterium enrichment shapes leaf wax n-alkane δD values of angiosperm plants I: Experimental evidence and mechanistic insight. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 111:39-49.

Sachse D, Chikaraishi Y, Dawson TE, Feakins SJ, Freeman KH, Magill C, McInerney FA, van der Meer M, Pedentchouk N, Polissar P, Robins R, Schmidt HL, Sessions AL, White JWC, West JB, Kahmen A (2012) The hydrogen-isotopic composition of organic biomarkers from photosynthesiting organisms. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 40: 221-249.

Kahmen A, Dawson TE, Vieth A, Sachse D (2011) Leaf wax n-alkane δD values are determined early in the ontogeny of deciduous Populus trichocarpa leaves. Plant, Cell & Environment, 34: 1639-1651.

Kahmen A, Sachse D, Arndt SK, Tu KP, Farrington H, Vitousek PM, Dawson TE (2011) Cellulose δ18O is an index of the leaf to air vapor pressure difference (VPD) in tropical plants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 108: 1981-1986.

Kahmen A, Simonin K, Tu KP, Merchant A, Callister A, Siegwolf R, Dawson TE, Arndt SK (2008) Effects of environmental parameters, leaf physiological properties and leaf water relations on leaf water δ18O enrichment in different Eucalyptus species. Plant, Cell & Environment, 31: 738-751.

Kahmen A, Wanek W, Buchmann N (2008) Foliar δ15N values characterize soil N cycling and reflect nitrate or ammonium preference of plants along a temperate grassland gradient. Oecologia, 156: 861-870.

Craine JM, Elmore AJ , Aidar MPM, Bustamante M, Dawson TE, Hobbie EA, Kahmen A, Mack MC, McLauchlan KK, Michelsen A, Nardoto GB, Pardo LH, Peñuelas J, Reich PB, Schuur EAG, Stock WD, Templer PH, Virginia RA, Welker JM, Wright IJ (2009)Global patterns of foliar nitrogen isotopes and their relationships with climate, mycorrhizal fungi, foliar nutrient concentrations, and nitrogen availability. New Phytologist, 183: 980-992.

Kahmen A, Renker C, Unsicker SB, Buchmann N (2006) Niche complementarity for nitrogen use - An explanation for the biodiversity and ecosystem functioning relationship in grasslands? Ecology, 87: 1244-1255.

Kahmen A, Perner J, Buchmann N (2005) Diversity dependent productivity in semi-natural grasslands following climate perturbations. Functional Ecology, 19: 594-601.
➙ Highlighted in Nature News and Views by Moore, PD (2005) Roots of stability. Nature, 437: 959-960.

Latest Publication

Nelson DB, Sachse D, Schefuss E, Kahmen A (2017). Sources and Abundances of Leaf Wax Aerosols in Central Europe. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 198, 299-314


Complete list of publications