Research Interests

As a ecophysiologist and biogeochemist I am interested how carbon, water and nutrients move through a plant, how environmental changes drive plant physiological and metabolic responses, and how information about this processes can be derived from the stable isotopic composition of plant material. I like to combine experimental plant studies with research tools from various disciplines such as compound-specific isotope analyses (LC- & GC-IRMS, IRIS & CRDS), plant physiological measurements (gas-exchange & leaf traits), plant molecular biology (plant mutants), and biochemical approaches (enzyme activities, compound concentrations).

Recently, I lead a SNF Ambizione research project (TreeCarbo) focusing on carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen isotopic composition of carbohydrates (sugars, starch, tree-rings) to better understand how information about plant functions and climatic conditions are laid down into tree-ring archives. Besides, I develop a new compound-specific nitrogen isotope method to study wood decomposer food webs (IsoWeb).

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Scientific Career

  • SNF-Ambizione Group Leader, Swiss Federal Institute WSL, "Triple isotope analysis of carbohydrates: From assimilates to tree-rings (TreeCarbo)", 05/2019 - today
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Swiss Federal Institute WSL, "Analysing temporal and spatial changes in wood decomposer food-webs using novel stable isotope techniques (Isoweb)", 10/2018 - 04/2019
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Swiss Federal Institute WSL, "Oxygen isotope fractionations among plant assimilates", 01/2017 - 10/2018        
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Paul-Scherrer Institute, "Developing new methods for oxygen isotope analysis", 08/2014 - 12/2016                             
  • Ph.D. (Dr. sc.), ETH Zurich, "Carbon isotopic composition of leaf dark-respired CO2: Influence of different substrates and environmental drivers", 02/2011 - 07/2014      
  • Diplom (eq. M. sc.) Molecularbiology, Saarland University, "Characterization of genetic factors in the network of metal homeostasis in Arabidopsis thaliana", 04/2004 - 09/2010    

Further Publications (peer-reviewed)

Lehmann M.M., Fischer M., Blees J., Zech M., Siegwolf R.T.W., Saurer M. (2016). A novel methylation derivatization method for δ18O analysis of individual carbohydrates by gas chromatography/pyrolysis–isotope ratio mass spectrometry. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 30, 221–229.

Lehmann M.M., Wegener F., Barthel M., Maurino V.G., Siegwolf R.T.W., Buchmann N., Werner C., Werner R.A. (2016). Metabolic fate of the carboxyl groups of malate and pyruvate and their influence on δ13C of leaf respired CO2 during light enhanced dark-respiration. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7, doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00739.

Lehmann M.M., Wegener F., Werner R.A., Werner C. (2016). Diel variations in carbon isotopic composition and concentration of organic acids and their impact on plant dark respiration in different species. Plant Biology, 18, 776-784.

Lehmann, M.M., Rinne, K.T., Blessing, C., Siegwolf, R.T.W., Buchmann, N., Werner, R.A. (2015). Malate as a key carbon source of leaf dark-respired CO2 across different environmental conditions in potato plants. Journal of Experimental Botany, 66, 5769–5781.