Sapere Aude: DFF-Starting Grant – Biologisk Institut - Københavns Universitet

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20. november 2017

Sapere Aude: DFF-Starting Grant

Sapere Aude starting grant

Kathrin Rousk from Department of Biology received a prestigious Sapere Aude: DFF-Starting Grant. Kathrin is an ecosystem ecologist investigating climate change effects on nitrogen fixation in mosses in natural ecosystems.

Kathrin’s Sapere Aude: DFF-Starting Grant will run for four years and will be implemented in the Terrestrial Ecology Section at the Department of Biology. 

The project will identify the abiotic and biotic controls of nitrogen fixation in mosses from arctic tundra and tropical cloud forests. In these ecosystems, plant productivity is limited primarily by nitrogen (N). Here, mosses and associated N-fixing cyanobacteria play a crucial role in maintaining ecosystem productivity by providing more than half to total ecosystem N input. However, the factors that control moss-associated N fixation are severely understudied, limiting our ability to predict climate change effects on this vital ecosystem function. In addition, the type of relationship mosses and cyanobacteria share is unknown, although the nature of this relationship is the ecological control mechanism for ecosystem N fixation, and with that, ecosystem productivity.

Kathrin and her research team will combine field -in arctic tundra and tropical cloud forests-, laboratory and modelling approaches to fill these knowledge gaps and to gain understanding as well as predictive power of how this ecosystem function will behave in a future climate.