Shedding thermal light on tree and forest responses to drought and heat stresses

Professor Christopher Still

College of Forestry
Oregon State University, USA


Fellowship Period: 06.2019-11.2019

My research is centered on forests and climate change feedbacks and impacts, on linkages between the carbon and water cycles at multiple spatial and temporal scales, and on the global biogeography and biogeochemistry of C4 grasses. My group uses a variety of measurement and modeling approaches for this research, including thermal imaging, deployment of microclimate and physiological sensors, and ecological and physiological process modeling.

Activities within WSL Fellowship

Increasing drought and heat stress are already impacting forests worldwide but we lack sufficient process understanding of how different forest types and tree species will respond. Increasing heat wave frequency and intensity are highly likely to occur with ongoing climate change and pose a substantial threat to forests worldwide. Forests are also threatened by increasing droughts which often are accompanied by increased temperatures. A key vulnerability of trees is the response of their leaves to heat and drought stress, and in particular the deviations in leaf temperature relative to air temperature. The thermal regime of leaves will determine how warm they become and thus their likelihood of experiencing temperatures that lead to reduced metabolism and even cellular damage and permanent loss of function. For my visit and subsequently, I have worked with my WSL collaborators to analyze thermal datasets collected at different scales to characterize the thermal regimes of leaves and associated ecophysiological measurements at the individual plant scale (MODOEK) and canopy scale (Pfynwald).

Cooperation within WSL

Interne Kontakte (Datensätze)