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Constantin M. Zohner

Constantin M. Zohner
ETH Zurich | ETH Zürich · Institute of Integrative Biology Zurich

PhD

About

60
Publications
43,038
Reads
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2,461
Citations
Introduction
I study phenological and ecological changes in plant communities to understand and address the consequences of climate change. See my website: constantinzohner.wordpress.com
Additional affiliations
January 2018 - present
ETH Zurich
Position
  • Fellow
December 2016 - December 2017
Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
Position
  • PostDoc Position
January 2014 - November 2016
Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (60)
Preprint
Full-text available
To quantify the ecological consequences of recent nation wide restoration efforts in China, spatially explicit information on woody biomass changes over the 21st century is critical However, long term biomass tracking at the national scale remains challenging as it requires continuous and high resolution monitoring . Here, we mapped above and below...
Article
Full-text available
The degree to which elevated CO2 concentrations (e[CO2]) increase the amount of carbon (C) assimilated by vegetation plays a key role in climate change. However, due to the short‐term nature of CO2 enrichment experiments and the lack of reconciliation between different ecological scales, the effect of e[CO2] on plant biomass stocks remains a major...
Article
Full-text available
1. Rapid technological advancements and increasing data availability have improved the capacity to monitor and evaluate Earth’s ecology via remote sensing. However, remote sensing is notoriously ‘blind’ to fine‐scale ecological processes such as interactions among plants, which encompass a central topic in ecology. 2. Here, we discuss how remote se...
Article
Full-text available
Urban environments, regarded as “harbingers” of future global change, may exert positive or negative impacts on urban vegetation growth. Because of limited ground-based experiments, the responses of vegetation to urbanization and its associated controlling factors at the global scale remain poorly understood. Here, we use satellite observations fro...
Article
Full-text available
Due to massive energetic investments in woody support structures, trees are subject to unique physiological, mechanical, and ecological pressures not experienced by herbaceous plants. Despite a wealth of studies exploring trait relationships across the entire plant kingdom, the dominant traits underpinning these unique aspects of tree form and func...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Understanding how leaf autumn phenology varies at different spatio-temporal scales is key to accurately predicting phenological changes under future climate. Recent projections and observations of autumn phenology in deciduous temperate and boreal forests appear conflicting. At the interannual scale, autumn senescence correlates positively with spr...
Article
Full-text available
Climate warming-induced shifts in spring phenology have substantially affected the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems and global biogeochemical cycles. Spring phenology is primarily triggered by spring temperature and is also affected by daylength and winter chilling, yet the relative importance of these cues across spatial gradients...
Article
Full-text available
The growing-season length of temperate and boreal trees has a strong effect on the global carbon cycle. Yet, a poor understanding of the drivers of phenological processes, such as autumn leaf senescence in deciduous trees, limits our capacity to estimate growing-season lengths under climate change. While temperature has been shown to be an importan...
Preprint
Climate change is causing shifts in the growing seasons of plants1,2, affecting species performance and interactions3,4 as well as global carbon, water and nutrient cycles5,6. How the timing of autumn leaf senescence in extra-tropical forests will change remains unclear because of the complex seasonal interaction of climate warming, earlier and enh...
Article
Trees growing at a particular latitude in Eastern North America (ENA) receive more autumn solar irradiation than do trees growing at the same latitude in Europe, a difference that could partly explain the higher percentage of anthocyanin-producing deciduous species in ENA compared with European floras. A proposed link between autumn light intensity...
Preprint
Full-text available
Leaf phenology is key for regulating total growing season mass and energy fluxes. Long-term temporal trends towards earlier leaf unfolding are observed across Northern Hemisphere forests. Phenological dates also vary between years, whereby end-of-season (EOS) dates correlate positively with start-of-season (SOS) dates and negatively with growing se...
Preprint
Full-text available
A bstract Due to massive energetic investments in woody support structures, trees are subject to unique physiological, mechanical, and ecological pressures not experienced by herbaceous plants. When considering trait relationships across the entire plant kingdom, plant trait frameworks typically must omit traits unique to large woody species, there...
Article
Aim Ongoing climate warming has been widely reported to delay autumn phenology, which in turn impacts carbon, water, energy and nutrient balances at regional and global scales. However, the underlying mechanisms of autumn phenology responses to climate change have not been fully elucidated. The aims of this study were to determine whether brighteni...
Article
Full-text available
A poor understanding of the fraction of global plant biomass occurring belowground as roots limits our understanding of present and future ecosystem function and carbon pools. Here we create a database of root-mass fractions (RMFs), an index of plant below- versus aboveground biomass distributions, and generate quantitative, spatially explicit glob...
Article
Full-text available
Microclimatic effects (light, temperature) are often neglected in phenological studies and little is known about the impact of resource availability (nutrient and water) on tree’s phenological cycles. Here we experimentally studied spring and autumn phenology in four temperate trees in response to changes in bud albedo (white‐ vs. black‐painted bud...
Article
Full-text available
1. Earlier leaf‐out and later autumn leaf senescence under climate warming have been linked to increases in plant productivity and ecosystem carbon uptake. Yet, despite the potential implications of shifting phenology for plant carbon uptake, the degree to which phenological changes affect overall plant growth and the partitioning between above‐ an...
Article
Premise: State-sponsored weather stations became ubiquitous by the 1880s, yet many old climate data and phenological observations still need to be digitized and made accessible. Methods: We here make available flowering times for 450 species of herbs and shrubs gathered in 1844 by Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius (1794-1868), director of the M...
Article
Our study showed that increases in seasonal productivity drive earlier autumn senescence of temperate trees. Norby argues that this finding is contradicted by observations from free-air CO 2 enrichment (FACE) experiments, where elevated CO 2 has been found to delay senescence in some cases. We provide a detailed answer showing that the results from...
Article
Over the last decades, spring leaf‐out of temperate and boreal trees has substantially advanced in response to global warming, affecting terrestrial biogeochemical fluxes and Earth’s climate system. However, it remains unclear whether leaf‐out will continue to advance with further warming because species’ effective chilling temperatures as well as...
Article
Limits to the growing season The length of the growing season in temperate forests has been increasing under recent climate change because of earlier leaf emergence and later leaf senescence. However, Zani et al. show that this trend might be reversed as increasing photosynthetic productivity begins to drive earlier autumn leaf senescence (see the...
Article
Full-text available
Late-spring frosts (LSFs) affect the performance of plants and animals across the world's temperate and boreal zones, but despite their ecological and economic impact on agriculture and forestry, the geographic distribution and evolutionary impact of these frost events are poorly understood. Here, we analyze LSFs between 1959 and 2017 and the resis...
Article
Late-spring frosts (LSFs) affect the performance of plants and animals across the world’s temperate and boreal zones, but despite their ecological and economic impact on agriculture and forestry, the geographic distribution and evolutionary impact of these frost events are poorly understood. Here, we analyze LSFs between 1959 and 2017 and the resis...
Article
Full-text available
Late-spring frosts (LSFs) affect the performance of plants and animals across the world’s temperate and boreal zones, but despite their ecological and economic impact on agriculture and forestry, the geographic distribution and evolutionary impact of these frost events are poorly understood. Here, we analyze LSFs between 1959 and 2017 and the resis...
Article
Full-text available
Climate warming is currently advancing spring leaf‐out of temperate and boreal trees, enhancing net primary productivity (NPP) of forests. However, it remains unclear whether this trend will continue, preventing for accurate projections of ecosystem functioning and climate feedbacks. Several ecophysiological mechanisms have been proposed to regulat...
Article
Full-text available
Trees need to avoid frost damage to their young leaves by leafing out after the occurrence of the last frost, yet they also need to start photosynthesis early in the season to achieve sufficient growth. This trade‐off leads to the hypothesis that ‘safety margins’ against spring frost should become shorter, the longer the winter duration, perhaps re...
Article
Our study quantified the global tree restoration potential and its associated carbon storage potential under existing climate conditions. Skidmore et al . dispute our findings, using as reference a yearly estimation of carbon storage that could be reached by 2050. We provide a detailed answer highlighting misunderstandings in their interpretation,...
Article
Full-text available
Temperature differences between cities and the countryside have been regarded as useful surrogates for ecological responses to climate warming. However, research reveals mismatch between the phenological responses to spatial and temporal temperature gradients as well as complex interactions between urbanization and climate.
Article
Full-text available
Premise The proportion of woody dicots with toothed leaves increases toward colder regions, a relationship used to reconstruct past mean annual temperatures. Recent hypotheses explaining this relationship are that (1) leaves in colder regions are thinner, requiring thick veins for support and water supply, with the resulting craspedodromous venatio...
Article
Our study quantified the global tree restoration potential and its associated carbon storage potential under existing climate conditions. We received multiple technical comments, both supporting and disputing our findings. We recognize that several issues raised in these comments are worthy of discussion. We therefore provide a detailed common answ...
Article
Full-text available
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0217592.].
Article
The timing of spring leaf emergence in temperate regions directly influences global biogeochemical cycles and species interactions (Richardson et al. 2013). Understanding the environmental drivers of leaf‐out is thus essential to forecasting ecosystem responses to global climate change. These drivers have long been thought to be species‐specific co...
Article
Full-text available
Combating climate change requires unified action across all sectors of society. However, this collective action is precluded by the ‘consensus gap’ between scientific knowledge and public opinion. Here, we test the extent to which the iconic cities around the world are likely to shift in response to climate change. By analyzing city pairs for 520 m...
Article
Full-text available
The restoration of trees remains among the most effective strategies for climate change mitigation. We mapped the global potential tree coverage to show that 4.4 billion hectares of canopy cover could exist under the current climate. Excluding existing trees and agricultural and urban areas, we found that there is room for an extra 0.9 billion hect...
Article
Temperature during a particular period prior to spring leaf‐out, the temperature‐relevant period (TRP), is a strong determinant of the leaf‐out date in temperate‐zone trees. Climatic warming has substantially advanced leaf‐out dates in temperate biomes worldwide, but its effect on the beginning and length of the TRP has not yet been explored, despi...
Article
Full-text available
Red or yellow autumn leaves have long fascinated biologists, but their geographic concentration in Eastern North American trees has defied evolutionary explanations. In this review, anthocyanins and xanthophylls are discussed in relation to their occurrence in different regions of the Northern Hemisphere, phylogenetic distribution, and photoprotect...
Article
Global warming has led to substantially earlier spring leaf‐out in temperate‐zone deciduous trees. The interactive effects of temperature and daylength underlying this warming response remain unclear, yet need to be accurately represented by Earth System models to improve projections of the carbon and energy balances of temperate forests and the as...
Article
Evaluating intrinsic and extrinsic traits that predispose species to local extinction is important for targeting conservation efforts. Among the species of special concern in Europe are bees, which, along with butterflies, are the best monitored insects. Bees are most species-rich in Mediterranean-type climates with short winters, warm springs, and...
Article
Full-text available
Ongoing global warming is causing phenological shifts that affect photosynthesis and growth rates in temperate woody species. However, the effects of seasonally uneven climate warming—as is occurring in much of Europe, where the winter/spring months are warming twice as fast than the summer/autumn months—on autumn growth cessation (completion of ov...
Article
Full-text available
Reconstruction of palaeobiomes, ancient communities that exhibit a physiognomic and functional structure controlled by their environment, depends on proxies from different disciplines. Based on terrestrial mammal fossils, the late Miocene vegetation from China to the eastern Mediterranean and East Africa has been reconstructed as a single cohesive...
Article
Full-text available
The temporal overlap of phenological stages, phenological synchrony, crucially influences ecosystem functioning. For flowering, among-individual synchrony influences gene flow. For leaf-out, it affects interactions with herbivores and competing plants. If individuals differ in their reaction to the ongoing change in global climate, this should affe...
Article
Phenological mismatch results from interacting species changing the timing of regularly repeated phases in their life cycles at different rates. We review whether this continuously ongoing phenomenon, also known as trophic asynchrony, is becoming more common under ongoing rapid climate change. In antagonistic trophic interactions, any mismatch will...
Article
Climate warming is leading to earlier budburst and therefore an increased risk of spring frost injury to young leaves. But to what extent are second-cohort leaves, which trees put out after leaf-killing frosts, able to compensate incurred losses? To investigate whether second-cohort leaves behave differently from first-cohort leaves, we exposed sap...
Article
Full-text available
Premise of the Study | Herbarium specimens provide a robust record of historical plant phenology (the timing of seasonal events such as flowering or fruiting). However, the difficulty of aggregating phenological data from specimens arises from a lack of standardized scoring methods and definitions for phenological states across the collections comm...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Leaf out times of temperate forest trees are a prominent determinant of global carbon dynamics throughout the year. Abiotic cues of leaf emergence are well studied but investigation of the relative roles of shared evolutionary history (phylogeny) and local adaptation to climate in determining the species-level responses to these cues is...
Article
Full-text available
The length of the vegetation period (LVP), which is the time between leaf-out and leaf senescence, affects numerous ecosystem functions, including biogeochemical cycles and interspecific interactions. The evolutionary mechanisms determining LVP, however, are poorly understood, and thus, it is unknown whether innate LVPs differ between eastern North...
Data
A well-timed phenology is essential for plant growth and reproduction, but species-specific phenological strategies are still poorly understood. Here, we use a common garden approach to compare biannual leaf-out data for 495 woody species growing outdoors in Munich, 90% of them not native to that climate regime. For three species, data were augment...
Article
Intuitively, interannual spring temperature variability (STV) should influence the leaf-out strategies of temperate zone woody species, with high winter chilling requirements in species from regions where spring warming varies greatly among years. We tested this hypothesis using experiments in 215 species and leaf-out monitoring in 1585 species fro...
Article
The relative roles of temperature and day length in driving spring leaf unfolding are known for few species, limiting our ability to predict phenology under climate warming. Using experimental data, we assess the importance of photoperiod as a leaf-out regulator in 173 woody species from throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and we also infer the inf...
Article
Full-text available
Aim: Cold events determine the distributional range limits of woody species. Despite global warming, the magnitude of late frost events in boreal and temperate regions is not expected to change. Hence, the risk for late spring frost damage of woody species may increase with an earlier onset of the growing season. Here, we investigated biogeographic...
Article
Experimental data on the perception of day length and temperature in dormant temperate zone trees are surprisingly scarce. In order to investigate when and where these environmental signals are perceived, we carried out bagging experiments in which buds on branches of Fagus sylvatica, Aesculus hippocastanum and Picea abies trees were exposed to nat...
Article
A well-timed phenology is essential for plant growth and reproduction, but species-specific phenological strategies are still poorly understood. Here, we use a common garden approach to compare biannual leaf-out data for 495 woody species growing outdoors in Munich, 90% of them not native to that climate regime. For three species, data were augment...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
Warming-induced changes in bud dormancy and their effects on leaf phenology in common European tree species.
Project
Using experimental and monitoring approaches I am assessing the effects of climate change on phenology and growth in temperate and boreal woody plant species. Comparative approaches will be used to study the evolutionary forces underlying plant’s growth strategies and forecast phenological changes in floristically changed communities under climate warming.