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9th of February 2021: Ph.D. Colloquium

Congratulations to Dr. Roberto Cruz Garcia! Today Roberto defended his PhD thesis "Dendrochronology of Central European temperate Forest tree species - Effects of lang-term climate change trends and short-term weather extremes".

30th of November 2020: Natural Forest Award 2020: Award for young natural forest researchers

"With wet feet fit for climate change?" Svenja Ahlgrimm was awarded the Natural Forest Prize 2020, which is awarded annually by the Natural Forest Academy. In her master's thesis, Svenja studied the effects of peatland rewetting on adjacent forest stands. More water in the landscape also helps the forest!
In an German-speaking interview with the Natural Forest Academy, Svenja gives more details about her research.

Jan Leßmann Photography

7th of October 2020: Die Nordreportage: Die Waldretter

Drought and mild winters - Mecklenburg-Vorpommern's forests are suffering. Nature lovers and experts are looking for solutions.

On October 7, NDR television showed a 24-minute program entitled "Die Naturreportage: Die Waldretter" ("The Nature Report: The Forest Saviors") about the drought, forest conversion and the future of our forests. Among other things, the film was shot at our research plot in Eldena.

The program is still available in the NDR Mediathek until October 7, 2021 (only in German).

22nd of September 2020: Climate change and tree research - A summer in the forest

On three excursions in June, July and September 2020, the reporter Philipp Lemmerich accompanied Tobias Scharnweber during field research at different locations as well as in our dendrology laboratory. Under the focus "Climate Change and Tree Research - A Summer in the Forest", the question of how a tree researcher can help to counteract climate change will be investigated. Tobias Scharnweber talks about the forest - and what insights dendroecology brings.

The article was broadcast on Deutschlandfunk Kultur on 22nd of September 2020 and is still available (only in German).

11th of September 2020: Ph.D. Colloquium

Jelena Lange's topic of here Ph.D. was „Drivers of unstable climate-tree growth relationships in the circumpolar boreal forest in time and space“. On September 11th she successfully defended here doctoral thesis. Congratulations!


May 2020: New article in Nature Climate Change

“Increasing contribution of peatlands to boreal evapotranspiration in a warming climate" suggests new study from Nature Climate Change. We are happy to be part of this international effort!

university press release (only in German)


April 2020: Trees react to climate – but is that reaction stable in time?

New paper in Global Change Biology from our group. Hope to spark discussion with our “Opinion”!

Location of all sites analyzed in studies investigating climate sensitivity of tree‐rings (a), testing for non‐stationarity of this sensitivity (b) and detecting it (c). Non‐stationarity is evident at global scale.

April 2020: Climate stations just don’t do the trick for ecologists… it’s the soil!

SoilTemp launched with paper in Global Change Biology from Jonas Lembrechts and our contributions.


April 2020: University forests reveal effects of drought on important tree species in Germany

New study by Tobias Scharnweber et al. (published in Environmental Research Letters) shows the effect of two consecutive drought years, 2018 and 2019. In 2018, even though it hardly rained, there was enough soil water – trees grew fine. In 2019 it became too dry – trees suffered badly.

see also dpa (in German only):

March 2020: ARS LEGENDI Faculty Award for Professor Martin Wilmking

The Ars legendi Faculty Award for Mathematics and Natural Sciences honours scientists who distinguish themselves through outstanding, innovative and exemplary achievements in teaching, counselling and support.

In the Biology category, the award goes to Martin Wilmking, landscape ecologist at the University of Greifswald. The jury was won over with his wide range of teaching methods adapted to a wide-ranging audience. In order to meet the challenge posed by different levels of previous knowledge and different learning speeds, Wilmking aims to activate students and has converted all lectures into interactive courses. In doing so, he relies, among other things, on the use of different teaching concepts such as "peer groups" and the "Flipped Classroom", as well as innovative forms of examination and the consistent use of immediate digital feedback.

Further information (only in German):

March 2020: Article in Nature Communications

Most of the variation in six plant traits critical to the growth, survival and reproduction can be explained by just two dimensions, corresponding to strategies of 1) plant size and 2) resource acquisition. However, it was unclear whether global plant trait relationships hold true in climatic extremes, such as the Arctic tundra. A new paper out in Nature Communications shows that “Global plant trait relationships extend to the climatic extremes of the tundra biome”. Our working group contributed data to this true international effort of over 100 scientists. All together we compiled over 50,000 new trait records, allowing for this large-scale analysis.

Further information: iDiv: Plant life on the edge

01st of March 2020: Humboldt Research Fellowship

Dr. Jan Tumajer is a new postdoctoral researcher at the "Landscape Ecology and Ecosystem Dynamics" working group of Prof. Martin Wilmking at the Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology. He comes from the Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, where he obtained a PhD in Physical Geography and Geoecology in 2017. His 20-month project, funded by Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is focused on the validation of process-based models of wood formation at intra-annual scales.  


3rd of February 2020: Reinforcement for our working group

We welcome the two newcomers Elisa Schmidt and Alexander Seliger to our team.

Both of them have recently joined the institute and will focus on sustainable land use in the Greifswald region in the next months. The aim is to develop a concept for more environmentally friendly forms of land use in cooperation with various stakeholders.

We are looking forward to a good cooperation.

Beech forest in the NSG Eldena (Photo: Elisa Schmidt)

3rd of February 2020: Article on the greening of the Arctic

The plants of Arctic regions react to rising summer temperatures. As the snow melts earlier, plants start growing earlier in spring. Tundra vegetation can in this way spread to new areas and the plants can also grow higher - the so-called "greening of the Arctic". A 40-member international research team from 36 institutions, including the University of Greifswald and the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research, has used modern technology to find out that the causes of these processes are more complex and variable than previously assumed. The results are presented in the article "Complexity revealed in the greening of the Arctic" in the current issue of the journal "Nature Climate Change".

university press release

Shrub tundra on Greenland (Photo: Martin Wilmking)

16th of January 2020: Article on the influence of climate change on trees in the Baltic Sea region

Our forests grow slower under the influence of climate change. This is the conclusion reached by an international research consortium led by the University of Greifswald, which evaluated data from over 300 forest sites. The results have now been published in the journal Global Change Biology.

university press release

Pine forests on the Baltic coast (Photo: Karolina Janecka)

19th of December 2019: New project - Wood Finds from the Middle Ages Can Help Adapt our Forests to Climate Change

Forest researchers, foresters, landscape ecologists and archaeologists are performing joint research to promote conservation.

Data gained from archaeological wood finds is to be collected, structured and evaluated in a climate and vegetation archive up until the end of 2022. The data will help to adapt today’s forests to climate change. The project ‘ArchaeoForest – Medieval Forest Composition as a Foundation for Forestry Adaptations to Climate Change’ is being realised by Prof. Martin Wilmking’s research group and Dr. Tobias Scharnweber from the University of Greifswald’s Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology together with the State Office of Archaeology Sachsen and the public enterprise Sachsenforst.

university press release

Medieval fir wood sample (photo: Tobias Scharnweber)

October 2019: Award for the best poster

Julien Léon Bota and Prof. Martin Wilmking have won the award for the best poster at the UPtoDATE: University Teaching in the Digital Age conference. The best poster was chosen by the audience directly during the closing event online using tweedback. The theme of the poster was the "Flipped classroom" concept: Flip it! Von „umgedrehter Vorlesung“ zur „alternativen Prüfungsform“


16-20 of October 2019: 9th Bonn Humboldt Award Winners' Forum

Prof. Martin Wilmking, Dr. Alba Anadon-Rosell and Dr. Mario Trouillier attended the 9th Bonn Humboldt Award Winners' Forum held in Bonn. Researchers from all over the world, both members and non-members of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, attended the meeting, which featured the “Humboldtian Sciences”, such as geology, anthropology, ecology and evolution. This year is the 250th anniversary of Alexander von Humboldt’s birthday. The forum provided plenty of opportunities for networking. Scientific lectures by outstanding researchers were the core of the meeting, but attendees also had the pleasure to attend a lecture by Andrea Wulf, the author of the book “The Invention of Nature”, a highly acclaimed and awarded biography of Alexander von Humboldt. While Martin was a member of the scientific organizing committee, Alba and Mario presented her recent work as scientific posters.


image: E. Aufderheide

September 2019: Teaching Prices 2019

Also in 2019 the University Greifswald gave awards for Excellent Teachers. In addition to Prof. Dr. Cordelia Heß (Historical Institute) and Prof. Dr. Roland Rosenstock (Theology Faculty), Prof. Martin Wilmking was awarded with the 2,000 Euro prize. He received a prize in the category “Innovative Tests”:

24 and 25 of September 2019: Broadcasts on NDR 1 Radio MV

On Tuesday the 24th and Wednesday the 25th of September, NDR 1 Radio MV broadcasted in their program “Forum aktuell” discussions on the topics “Problempatient Wald” (Forest – Problem patient) and “Die Folgen des Klimawandels” (The consequences of climate change), which included interviews with Martin Wilmking.

The broadcast from the 25th of September is available at (in German language):

8th of July 2019: The "poster presentation" as an alternative form of examination

Modern teaching and learning research is increasingly calling into question the classical frontal lecture, which aims to impart pure knowledge. Particularly in polyvalent courses, this lecturer-centred form of teaching prevents individual learning and makes research-based learning more difficult. Prof. Martin Wilmking and the students of the module "Climate Change" show how polyvalent teaching can be combined as a flipped classroom with an alternative examination method that favours research-based learning.


20th of June 2019: Humboldt Research Fellowship

Dr. Anadon-Rosell has been awarded a Humboldt Research Fellowship for postdoctoral researchers. She will be hosted for a two-year period by Prof. Martin Wilmking and his team in the working group “Landscape Ecology and Ecosystem Dynamics” at the Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology. Alba Anadon-Rosell is from Barcelona, Spain, and will be working on the phenotypic plasticity of clonal shrubs in tundra ecosystems.

university press release


image: Magnus Schult

21st of February 2019: New study removes the fertilizer effect from climate reconstructions

At the end of February the article "Removing the no-analogue bias in modern accelerated tree growth leads to stronger medieval drought" by Tobias Scharnweber and other members of our working group appeared in Scientific Reports.

More information: (in German)

20th of February 2019: New project for digitalization in research

The State Excellence Program MV "Digitization in Research" supports the consortium "DIG-IT! Digitalisation of Natural Complexity to Solve Socially Relevant Ecological Problems" under the direction of Prof. Martin Wilmking. Over the next 3 years, researchers will have 2 million euros at their disposal to develop a methodological toolbox that can independently capture and categorize ecological image and audio data using machine learning techniques (deep convolutional neural networks). Partners are the Fraunhofer Institut für Grafische Datenverarbeitung Rostock (Prof. Uwe von Lukas), Biomathematik (Prof. Mareike Fischer) and working groups of the Institut für Botany und Landscape Ecology (Profs. Joosten, Kreyling, Wilmking) and the Zoological Institute and Museum (Prof. Gerald Kerth).

Extract from the jury vote:
"The DIG-IT! project aims to address urgent ecological issues through the use of digital technologies, with the evaluation of primary data posing a particular challenge. (...) The jury is convinced of the scientific excellence of the project. The idea of developing an ecological toolbox is particularly impressive. It also appreciates the approach of docking onto already existing excellent research alliances such as WETSCAPES and RESPONSE [DFG Research Training Group "Biological RESPONSEs to Novel and Changing Environments"] and using their findings above all to promote young scientists. (in German)