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Projects


Running projects / project participation

The MONSOON project is led by Prof. Jed O. Kaplan and supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) as part of the Franco-German Fellowship Programme on Climate, Energy and Earth System Research “Make Our Planet Great Again - German research Initiative (MOPGA-GRI)” is the newest project in our group.

TropSoc focuses on tropical soil organic carbon dynamics along erosional disturbance gradients in relation to soil geochemistry and land use. TROPSOC is led by Dr. Doetterl funded via the DFG Emmy Noether programme. (2017-2022).

Microplastic in fresh water systems (MicBin) is part of the initiative Plastics in the Environment funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). With MicBin the working group analyses and models the microplastic fluxes via soil erosion from arable land into inland waters (2017-2020).

The effect of input data quality and computation method on soil loss determination in rural landscapes is determined in a joint project with the Czech Technical University in Prague. The Project is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (2018-2019).

Soil Biogeochemical Processes (SoBio)
Evaluating the role soil nutrients on soil biogeochemical processes in a tropical rain forest and sugarcane plantations in Uganda is in the focus of SoBio. The PhD project is an individual DAAD funding (2018-2020) which is connected with the projects TROPSOC and RELIANCE-STR 1375 (University Göttingen).

TERENO Erosion Observation System (TEROS) - a long-term project to monitor soil organic carbon redistribution in small agricultural catchments in the Uckermark, Germany (in cooperation with the Deutschen GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ Potsdam and the Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e. V., Müncheberg; since 2013)

Completed projects

COST-Action 1306 connecting European Connectivity Research CONNECTEUR

Comparison of methods to determine tillage erosion (Joint project with experts from UK, Belgium, Spain and Germany)

Coupling terrestrial and aquatic carbon fluxes in agricultural catchment in South-East India with a special focus upon greenhouse gas fluxes from small retention ponds (Funding: Indo-German Centre for Sustainability & RWTH Aachen).

Land use and land management change and its interrelation with water resource management - a modelling study from South India (Funding: Indo-German Centre for Sustainability IGCS & RWTH Aachen)

Modelling the effects of land use and climate change upon in-stream hydraulics in mountainous streams in rapidly urbanizing regions (close to Pune) of the Western-Ghats (Funding Department of Science and Technology India; involved as cooperation partner)

Effects of land use patterns upon soil moisture, water and carbon fluxes (SFB-TR32 phase II; funding DFG; PIs Schneider & Fiener; 2011-2014)

Analysis of temporal and spatial structures of soil moisture by integrating remote sensing and process based modelling (SFB-TR32 phase I; funding DFG; PIs Schneider & Fiener; 2007-2010)

Effects of land use and optimised land management on runoff in small agricultural watersheds (funding DFG; PIs Disse, Fiener, Auerswald; 2007-2012)

Soil redistribution in agricultural landscapes - source or sink of CO2? (funding DFG; PIs: Fiener & Schneider; 2008-2011)

Effects of global climate change upon spatio-temporal variability of rainfall erosivity (funding Landesamt für Umwelt, Natur und Verbraucherschutz, NRW; PIs Fiener & Botschek; 2009-2010)


  • Feedbacks between land cover, people, and climate in the seasonally arid tropics (MONSOON)
    The MONSOON project seeks to better understand the relationship between humans and the environment in the seasonally arid tropics.
  • TROPSOC
    TropSoc focuses on tropical soil organic carbon dynamics along erosional disturbance gradients in relation to soil geochemistry and land use. TropSoc is led by Dr. Doetterl funded via the DFG Emmy Noether programme. (2017-2022).
  • MicBin
    The project “Microplastic in fresh water systems” (MicBin) is part of the initiative Plastics in the Environment funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and runs over a period of three years (2017-2020). Within MicBin the work package of the University of Augsburg focuses on analyzing and modelling the microplastic fluxes via soil erosion from arable land into inland waters.
    Therefore, the working group repeatedly carries out series of irrigation experiments on arable land. The irrigated plots were previously loaded with a defined amount of microplastic (HDPE 50-100 μm, 250-300 μm). The surface runoff and eroded sediment gets analyzed on degraded PE particles. This is intended to determine the potential transport of the microplastic particles via soil erosion. The main issue is to find out whether microplastic preferentially is washed out via surface runoff because of low density. Alternatively, whether a binding to soil particles or soil aggregates takes place, reducing the output. In addition to basic research about the behavior of microplastic in soils, the experiments are used to derive model parameters for erosion modeling. The SPEROS-C model was partly developed by the working group and will be used to generate simulations of the microplastic output of small selected catchments of tributaries of the river Danube. By the modeling of microplastic transport a quantification of uncertainties will be necessary. Because so far, all estimations about plastic in soils are based primarily on a very poor data knowledge.
    According to current researches, soils could represent a huge sink for plastics. Especially agricultural soils are burdened by microplastic. The extent of this burden is not yet quantifiable. This is partly due to the varied and poorly defined sources on the one hand (fertilization with sewage sludge and compost, input by tire abrasion, atmospheric deposition, use of plastic in agriculture such as films in special cultures etc.). On the other hand, the limited knowledge about the behavior and the remain of plastic in soil. The detection of microplastics in soils is extremely difficult, since individual (micro-) particles and not uniformly distributed dissolved substances must be detected. Compared to water samples, the separation of the microplastic from the solid matrix is a special challenge.
  • Soil Biogeochemical Processes (SoBio)
    Project in cooperation with the University of Göttingen funded as individual PhD project by DAAD (2018-2020)

    Soil greenhouse gas fluxes (N2O, CH4, CO2) and nitrogen (N) leaching in the humid tropics are expected to increase substantially in the near future due to increased deforestation, atmospheric N deposition, and agricultural intensification. However, only relatively few studies have investigated the biogeochemical implications of these anthropogenic and natural changes on soil greenhouse gas fluxes and N leaching in the tropical ecosystems. This PhD project is focused on the role of soil nutrients for soil biogeochemical processes in two contrasting ecosystems; tropical rain forest and sugarcane plantations in Uganda. More specifically, the study aims to investigate (1) how nutrient limitations affect soil greenhouse gas fluxes in the tropical rain forest; and (2) how conversion from natural forest to sugarcane production affects trace greenhouse gas fluxes and N leaching along a fertilizer intensification gradient. The research plans to explore soil factors controlling trace gas fluxes, net soil N cycling rates, and N leaching rates under nutrient elevated tropical forest ecosystems and large scale fertilizer-intensive sugarcane plantation. Our findings will contribute to (1) the scientific discourse about the likely effects of increased nutrient additions (through N deposition) to soil gas fluxes and N leaching in the humid tropics, (2) permit assessment and comparison of land use specific greenhouse gas fluxes budgets in order to inform policy makers about the likely impacts of converting forest land to sugarcane production; and (3) provide insights on fertilizer use efficiency and optimum fertilizer use in large scale intensive sugarcane production.
  • TERENO
    TERENO Erosion Observation System (TEROS) - a long-term project to monitor soil organic carbon redistribution in small agricultural catchments in the Uckermark, Germany (in cooperation with the Deutschen GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ Potsdam and the Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e. V., Müncheberg; since 2013)