Anders Michelsen

Anders Michelsen



Anders Michelsen

(mobile) +45 51 26 89 48   +45 23 39 82 86

Physiological Ecology, Biology, Univ. of Copenhagen


Place of work

Professor at Terrestrial Ecology Section, Dept. of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2200 Copenhagen K, Denmark

Academic degrees

1992               Ph.D. degree in Botany obtained from the University of Copenhagen

1989               M.Sc. degree in Biology, University of Copenhagen

Positions held

2012- now       Full professor, Dept. of Biology, Univ. of Copenhagen

1998-2012       Associate professor, Dept. of Biology,  Univ. of Copenhagen

1995-1998       Assistant professor, Botanical Inst., Univ. of Copenhagen

1993-1995       Post doc, Inst. Terr. Ecol., Merlewood Research Station, UK

1993                Research fellow, Botanical Inst., Univ. of Copenhagen

1993                Deputy ass. prof., Botanical Museum, Univ. of Copenhagen

Appointments and duties

  • CO-PI Danish National Research Foundation/ Danmarks Grundforskningsfond Centre of Excellence, Center for Permafrost (CENPERM), 2012-21
  • Board Member of the Arctic Station, Disko/ Copenhagen Univ., Greenland, 2013-2023
  • Section Head, Terr Ecol Section, Dept of Biology,  Copenhagen Univ, 2013-2016
  • Leader of the Physiological Ecology Research Group, since 2007.
  • Member of the board of the Botanical Institute 1999-2002.
  • Head of Department of Plant Ecology 1999-2002.
  • Member of Scientific Board on the Basic Ecological Research and Monitoring Programme at Zackenberg Research Station, NE Greenland since 2006.
  • Member of the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) association since 2005. 

External grants received, as coordinator

  • Role of saprotrophic and mycorrhizal fungi in soil carbon storage in the Arctic (SapMyc). Danmarks Frie Forskningsfond | Natur og Univers, 2032-00064B - DFF-Research Project 1, 2.880.000 DKK (2022-2025)
  • Forecasting climate change impacts on High Arctic ecosystems. Carlsberg Foundation infrastructure grant DKK 110.657,- (2022)
  • RootScan. Carlsberg Foundation infrastructure grant DKK 35.367,- (2021)
  • High Arctic greening through cryptogamic facilitation (GreenArc) Det Frie Forskningsråd | Natur og Univers, 2.866.614 DKK (2020-2024)
  • Warm traits. Hosting post Casper T Christiansen receiving Carlsberg reintegration grant (DKK 617.054,-) and  EU Marie-Sklodovska-Curie actions individual fellowship stipend, 200.000,- € (2020-2023)
  • Mosses as a gateway of nitrogen into northern ecosystems (MYCOMOSS). EU post doc stipend to Marie-Sklodovska-Curie fellow Signe Lett, 200.000,- € (2018-2020)
  • Nitrogen fixation as a key function in contrasting ecosystems: Climatic and molecular controls, Det Frie Forskningsråd | Natur og Univers, 2.416.251 DKK (2016-2019)
  • Effects of long-term environmental change on carbon fluxes and mycorrhizal diversity in subarctic heath ecosystems. EU INTERACT Transnational Access 5357€ DKK 40.000,- (2011)
  • Influence of plant-microbial interactions and climate on plant performance and ecosystem C and N pools. FNU Research grant; 748.800,- DKK (2011-2012).
  • Analytical equipment (GC-MS) for research in physiological ecology. Carlsberg Foundation; 300.000,- DKK (2010-2011). 
  • Nitrogen fixation in the Arctic in a changing climate; 640.000,- DKK (Faculty Research Grant post doc to Pernille L. Sørensen, 2008-2010).
  • EU stipend to Marie Curie fellow (MCF-ERICA: Ericoid mycorrhizas and carbon biogeochemistry in subarctic ecosystems), to post doc (Maria Olsrud) 1.400.000,- DKK, (2006-2010).
  • Environmental controls on plants, microbes and biogeochemical processes in the Arctic. 792.000,- DKK (FNU rammebevilling 272-06-0230, 2007-9).
  • Effects of climate- and UV-B manipulations on processes and organisms in high arctic terrestrial ecosystems. 315.000,- DKK (Miljøstyrelsen, 127/01-0205, 2005-6)
  • Spectral calibration for high arctic primary production estimation (SCHAPPE); 150.000,- DKK (SNF no 21-03-0454, 2003-4)
  • C and N analyzer for soil and plant analysis; 503.909,- DKK (SNF no. 21-03-0176, 2003)
  • ECOMASS: Ecosystems research with mass spectrometry; 850.000,- DKK from SNF (and 200.000,- DKK from Botanical Institute) for an isotope ratio mass spectrometer (SNF no. 1430, 2000).
  • Post doc grant (”Experimental studies of belowground processes…”); 742.000 DKK. (SNF ref. 11-0611-1. 1993-1995).

External grants received, with other researchers

  • Centre for Permafrost (CENPERM) Danish National Research Foundation/Danmarks Grundforskningsfond 2012-2021. Co-PI. Total 100 mill DKK. My share of overhead to BIO c. 5.000.000,-. DKK.
  • Climaite 3rd phase, Villum Kann Rasmussen Foundation, 2012-2014, total 13.000.000,- DKK; my share c. 1.000.000,- DKK.
  • Nordic Network for Stable Isotope Research (NORDSIR) NORDFORSK, 2010-2013, 826.290,- DKK
  • Climaite 2nd phase, Villum Kann Rasmussen Foundation, 2009-2012, total 12.500.000,- DKK; my share c. 1.500.000,- DKK (incl. 1 year phd co-funding from Univ. of Copenhagen)
  • Climaite,1st phase Villum Kann Rasmussen Foundation, 2004-2009, total 25.000.000,- DKK;  my share c. 1.400.000,- DKK 
  • Multiple environmental changes, effects on arctic organisms and ecosystem processes, 1999-2002) Nordic Arctic Research Programme (NARP)
  • Equipment for field measurements of photosynthesis, respiration and transpiration in plants; Danish Natural Science Research Council 2003 (SNF) 397.705,- DKK
  • Biogeochemistry in the Arctic…”, SNF 9901759; and The Arctic Landscape”, Danish Natural Science Research Council  (SNF) 9501046, 1995-2002)
  • “FITES - Fire in Tropical Ecosystems”, Danish Council for Development Research, 1996-2000)
  • Funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Board (127402) 1996-1997

 Scientific peer reviews and evaluations

  • Review of research proposals for Natural Environment Research Council, NERC (UK), National Science Foundation, NSF (US), Research Foundation Flanders FWO (Belgium),  Canadian Research Council (NSERC-CRC) and NOW Polar Programme (Netherlands).
  • Evaluation of applicants for assistant professorship at Umeå and Lund Universities (Sweden), and research positions at National Environment Research Institute / Aarhus University, and full professorships at University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Member of ph.d evaluation committees at University in Lund (Sweden), University of Jyväskyla (Finland) and University of Copenhagen.
  • Review of papers for the scientific journals: Nature Climate Change, Global Change Biology, Acta Oecologia, Agroforestry Systems, Ambio, Ecology, New Phytologist, Functional Ecology, Geoderma, Oikos, Antarctic Science, Journal of Tropical Ecology, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Biodiversity and Conservation, Oecologia, Ecosystems, Biogeochemistry, Nordic Journal of Botany, Plant and Soil, Applied Soil Ecology, Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research, Plant Ecology, Science of the Total Environment, Ecological Research, PlosOne, Environmental Pollution.

Research and teaching output

Publications: 262 in peer reviewed journals and books since 1990, >300 publications in total. ISI/Web of Science citation index: 253 papers, 14971 times cited (17 May 2023); h-index: 64. Google Scholar h-index: 76 (17 Aug 2023).

Completed research supervision of 11 post docs, 84 MSc students, and 20 Ph.D. students.

Present number of post docs 3, Ph.D students 1, MSc students 2.

At University of Copenhagen I am teaching basic and high level courses in Advanced Ecology, Plant Ecophysiology, Field Biology, Arctic Biology, Basic Arctic Biology, Introduction to Arctic Ecosystems,  and I am coordinator of 4 courses, in:  Terrestrial ecosystem processes and Global Change, Methodology and sampling in Environmental Management,  Experimental Design and Statistical Analysis, and Biological Research: Design and Analysis.

List of students, ph.d and post docs

Supervised MSc students (87): Jette Lundsbøl Petersen, Charlotte Juhl Vestergaard,Jane Engstrøm Dannesboe, Iben Henriksen (nu Stanhardt), Pernille Lærkedal Sørensen, Susanne König, Mette Thyme, Karen Dahl Jensen, Klaus Steenberg Larsen, Karina Engelbrecht Clemmensen, Anja Hoff Hansen, Lisbeth Rauff, Nathan Russell, Julie Bülow Svendsen, Sita Fabricius, Tina Johnsen, Louise Andresen, Frida Kastrup, Anja Vilsholm, Vivian Danielsen, Jane Kongstad Pedersen, Marie Arndal, Pia Lund Nielsen, Kim Kjærsgaard Nielsen, Christian Lindekrans, Anders Tesgaard, Annebeth Hoffmann, Lasse Kjems, Peter Byskov Vang Dalgaard, Merian Skouw-Rasmussen, Kristine Boesgaard, Lena Folkvard Petersen, Astrid Kappel Nielsen, Sebrina Burchard, Casper Tai Christensen, Sarah Svendsen, Anders Juel, Caroline E Simonsen, Maria Topgaard, Mette Hedegaard, Signe Lett, Michelle Schollert Skovgaard , Nynne Larsen, Hanne Kristine Dyrnum, Therese van Driel, Susanne Munk Andersen, Sisse Pedersen, Kathrine Høyrup, Jesper Mosbacher, Ditte Brogaard Iversen, John Rasmussen, Camille Gry Smenge, Nina Bonke Mikkelsen, Nanna Lundh, Morten Mikkel Rolsted, Nanna Baggesen, Lotte Madsen, Lene Seierø, Julie Andersen, Astrid Emilie Knak Goth, Mette Francke, Emily Pickering Pedersen, Frederikke Høyer, Lisbeth Simonsen, Nor Balder Thane Christensen, Pia Petersen, Aya Tora Permin, Liv Alexa Nobel, Balduin Landl, Mads Bo Wolter Nielsen, Emil Alexander Sherman Andersen, Joseph Gaudard, Julie Pedersen Festersen, Anna Marie Stevnsvig, Elisabeth Larsen Kolstad, Else Pedersen, Kristine Skov, Agnieszka Marta Rzepczynska, Lasse Brandt Warning, Maj Sofie Paornak D Christensen, Simone Windfeldt-Schmidt, Louise Vikjær Bote, Charlotte Amalie Buchard Køhnke,  Eve Galen, David Oldcorn, Johanna Alberg, Lise Camilla Leppanen, Pernille May Yde, Oscar Redeyoff, Åsa Märta Paulina Lie

Supervised PhD students (20): Menassie Gashaw, Enrico Graglia, Karl Emmerton, Erik Aude, Lotte Illeris, Michael Jensen, Magnus Olsson, Heidi Sjursen Konestabu, Karina E Clemmensen, Klaus Steenberg Larsen, Pernille Lærkedal Sørensen, Matteo Campioli, Louise C. Andresen, Merete Bang Selsted, Merian Skouw Haugwitz, Marie Porret Merrild, Frida Lindwall, Cecilie Skov Nielsen, Nynne Larsen, Sarah Svendsen, Emily Pickering Pedersen, Laura Helene Rasmussen

Supervised post docs (11): Carola Gehrke, Jorge Castro, Pernille Lærkedal Sørensen, Louise C. Andresen, Maria Olsrud, Riikka Rinnan, Daan Blok, Merian Skouw Haugwitz, Annelein Meisner, Kathrin Rousk, Marianne Koranda,


Guest lecturer

I have contributed to several ph.d courses at University of Copenhagen, University of Lund, and KVL/LIFE, Copenhagen: Methods in Plant Ecology; Organic Matter in Soil: Pools and Processes; Experimental Design and Statistical Methods in Biology; Ecosystem Processes; Nutrient Cycling in Terrestrial Ecosystems; Dynamics of Organic Matter in Soil; Plant migration, persistence and adaptation in response to environmental change.

I have contributed to courses in Plant Ecophysiology at KVL/LIFE, Copenhagen, and in Stable Isotopes at Geology, University of Copenhagen

Research profile

My research is on interactions between plants, microbes, atmosphere and soil, mainly in terrestrial ecosystems. I study above‑ and belowground processes in non-managed arctic/alpine, temperate and tropical ecosystems, supplemented with experimental manipulations in growth chambers, greenhouses, nurseries and the field.

The aim is to reveal the consequences of environmental changes such as global warming, nitrogen deposition or changed land use on processes involving soils, plants and microbes, from root/leaf level to ecosystem level. Current activities focus on experimental studies of the effects of climate change (global warming) on nutrient and carbon cycling in arctic and temperate ecosystems. For instance, plant performance, nutrient availability, plant nitrogen acquisition and the emission of greenhouse gases from arctic and temperate heath vegetation is studied using long-term climate change related field plots.

As the responsible for advanced isotope ratio mass spectrometers and cavity-ring down laser instruments in our laboratory, stable isotope methodology is frequently used in my research. By the use of stable isotopes (13C and 15N), both at natural abundance and enrichment levels, one of my main research aims is to increase our understanding of plant uptake of soil nitrogen in various forms, in symbiosis and/or competition with soil microorganisms, and to investigate the role of mycorrhizal fungi in plant nutrition, especially in non-managed ecosystems.

My research group is one of the main players internationally in the attempts to reveal the effects of climate change on decisive biogeochemical and physiological processes and key organisms in natural ecosystems. Several long-term ecosystem manipulation experiments in N Sweden and Greenland, led by me, constitute a permanent attraction for post docs, ph.d and master students, both nationally and internationally. My emphasis on the coupling between above-and belowground processes, biogeochemistry and plant physiological ecology in natural or low-management ecosystems in the Arctic is probably unique in a Danish university context. 



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