Prof. Penuelas has visited India and Nepal in the frame of the ERC Imbalance-P project

Prof. Penuelas had been on tour during May visiting India and Nepal to stablish new projects and research lines on phosphorus limitation and climate change impacts in these locations.

In India he visited several research centers to conduct meetings with local scientis from:

  • National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR). Scientists discussed about the limited stock of this vital macronutrient in nature and its Increasing limitation in an increasingly fertilized world with N and C.
    • Principal investigators
      • Dr. Ayay Parida. Director of the Institute of Life Sciences
      • Dr. Ramesh V. Sonti. Director of the National Institute of Plant Genome Research
      • Dr. Jitender Giri.
      • Dr. Raman Meenakshi Sundaram. PhD. Fellow-NAAS, ISGPB and IUSSTF
      • Dr. Jitendra Thakur.
      • Dr. Amar Pal Singh.
      • Dr. Ananda Sarkar.
    • Postdoc researchers
    • PhD students
    • Technicians


  • Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
    • Dr. Harsh Chauhan
    • Dr. Jitender Giri from the National Institute of Plant Genome Research


  • Jawaharlal Nehru University. School of Environmental Sciences. Scientists discussed about antibiotic resistance and air pollution.
    • Postdoc researchers
    • PhD students
    • Technicians


During the stay Prof Penuelas held seminars and conferences in the research centers listed above.


Dr. Jitender Giri and colleagues from the NIPGR
Dr. Jitender Giri, Prof Penuelas and colleagues from the NIPGR

IIT-2 (2)
Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee



During his visit to Nepal he conducted meetings and fiels trips on research on treeline shifts, nutrients and emergent pollutants in response to global warming and global eutophication and pollution in the Himalayas of Nepal.

Thisresearch involved scientists from:

  •  Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) – Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research:
    • Prof. Eryuan Liang
    • Dr. Shalik Ram Sigdel
    • Dr.  Haifeng Zhu


  • Nanjing Forestry University – College of Biology and the Environment:
    • Dr. Yafeng Wang


  • Tribhuvan University, Nepal
    • Prof. Binod Dawadi (Central Department of Hydrology and Meteorology)
    • Prof. Ram Kailash Prasad Yadav (Central Department of Botany)
    • Dr. Chitra Bahadur Baniya  (Central Department of Botany)


During the stay Prof Penuelas held seminars and conferences and visit selected treeline plots across the central Himalayas in Nepal.

Tribhuvan University_30052019
Tribhuvan University, Nepal

Tribhuvan University_talk_30052019
Prof. Penuelas seminar at Tribhuvan University, Nepal

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Visit to selected treeline plots across the central Himalayas
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The Patterns of climate change

Biologists analyze data of long-term experiment to monitor and predict how plant species will respond to climate change

Plant Ecology researchers at the University of Tübingen have developed a technique to monitor and predict how plant species will respond to climate change. Dr. Mark Bilton and Professor Katja Tielbörger, from the Institute of Evolution and Ecology, re-analysed data with Spanish collaborators from their unprecedented 16-year experiment. The experiment was conducted in an area the size of two football pitches within the Garraf National park south west of Barcelona. The landscape is mostly a Mediterranean scrubland, featuring thickets of low rise shrubs and herbs such as rosemary and thyme, and home to many protected species.

Using large automatic shelters, climate for the plants living in their natural environment was changed in order to match climate conditions predicted in the future, separately by decreasing rainfall and by raising temperatures. However, until now, it was unclear how the different species of plants were responding to changed climate, making it difficult to make further predictions about which species may be most affected in the future. The results of the study were published in the New Phytologist.

In general, global warming and reduced precipitation may lead to large-scale species losses and vegetation shifts in ecosystems around the world. Depending on whether plants are better adapted to warm and dry conditions or to cool and wet conditions, the response to a changed climate is likely to vary even within a region. In the study the scientists showed, that within a region, the relative rate and direction of plant response to a changed climate can be directly related to where and which climates the species occur in more frequently.

Therefore the researchers used a large online database containing the localities of where the different species in the experiment occurred all throughout southern Europe. These observations were combined with rainfall and temperature maps. This way the average temperature or rainfall requirements of the different co-occurring species in Spain could be used to rank them, based on which climates they are more commonly found. This ranking technique helped the scientists unlock the secrets behind which species were changing in the experiment, and monitor their changes over time.

In this particular experiment, the overall species diversity and vegetative biomass did initially respond negatively, but from 8 to 16 years the overall amount of vegetation was increasing again. Here the researchers showed that the initial decrease was due to a disappearance of the wet adapted species, followed by a delayed increase in the dry loving species. In addition, the novel ranking technique showed, that the species that declined under decreased rainfall, were different to those disappearing under increased temperatures.

By finding that responses were mainly related directly to where the species originally occur more frequently, separately for either rainfall or temperature, predictions can be extended to other future scenarios of climate change. “The technique is logical, but also surprisingly revealing”, says Dr. Mark Bilton, who has been using the same method to study plant responses in Israel. “It allows us to compare the rate of change of species within a habitat, but also between habitats”. Combining the ranking technique with the leading experimental approach to understanding climate change responses, the response of vegetation in other regions can be monitored and compared. “Within a region this can aid conservation efforts to identify those species likely to be lost most quickly. We are also confident it can help identify, which species and regions around the world may be more vulnerable to climate change in the future.”


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Automatic shelters used to alter either precipitation or temperature in Garraf National Park near Barcelona. Images: Courtesy of Josep Peñuelas

Publication: Daijun Liu, Josep Penuelas, Roma Ogaya, Marc Estiarte, Katja Tielbörger, Fabian Slowik, Xiaohong Yang and Mark C. Bilton: Species selection under long-term experimental warming and drought explained by climatic distributions, New Phytologist , DOI: 10.1111/nph.14925,

Contact: Daijun Liu, Prof. Josep Peñuelas, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, CREAF – Global Ecology Unit, Phone +34 667094190,

Dr. Mark Bilton, Tübingen University, Institute of Evolution and Ecology, Phone +49 7071 29-73235,