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MOdelling and Data assimilation of the Isotopic Signature of carbon pools and fluxes in Terrestrial Ecosystems


Identifying the mechanisms that control the magnitude as well as the spatial and temporal distribution of the terrestrial carbon sink remains one of the key challenges in climate change research. Measurements of net fluxes of carbon dioxide between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere are currently performed in international networks. However, to be able to predict future responses of European ecosystems to a changing climate, and to manage carbon pools and carbon uptake of terrestrial ecosystems, we need to understand the processes occurring within ecosystems. Stable isotopes of carbon and oxygen provide those additional information about carbon cycling within terrestrial ecosystems and their compartments. The overarching objective of this project is to understand and to model the isotopic signature of ecosystem processes at the ecosystem scale, and to quantitatively partition pools and fluxes into their various components. The outgoing phase will be hosted by the University of California, Berkeley (U.S.A). I intend (1) to synthesize flux and isotope data available at the global scale to identify patterns and controls of isotopic processes in ecosystems, (2) to develop and validate an ecosystem model to simulate these processes in various ecosystems, (3) to partition carbon pools and fluxes into their components and to derive sampling strategies for further experimental research, and (4) to apply the model to various ecosystems within Europe to improve our knowledge about site specific pattern in isotopic processes. The returning phase will be hosted by the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry (Germany). This fellowship will enable me to gain expertise and relevant skills currently not available in Europe. In turn, I can provide this new knowledge to the projects in the European research area (e.g. IP CarboEurope) and contribute to a better mechanistic understanding of the terrestrial carbon sinks in Europe.

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