Biodiversity, Macroecology and Biogeography

Dr. (Delphine) Clara Zemp


email: delphine-clara.zemp[at]
phone: +49-(0)551-39-10728

Research Interests

I focus my research on understanding mechanisms and dynamics linking vegetation, climate and land use in tree-based natural and agricultural systems, with the aim to support sustainable landscape and ecosystem management strategies. I am interested in combining various methodological approaches including remote sensing, model development and ground-based measurements. I have experience in using techniques from complexity sciences (such as complex networks and complexity measures in time series) to analyze non-linearities, feedbacks and interactions in the system at various spatio-temporal scales.

Education / Academic experiences

Since May 2016: Postdoctoral researcher, coordinating the Biodiversity Enrichment Experiment in Oil Palm Plantations of the DFG-funded Colaborative Research Center "Ecological and Socioeconomic Functions of Tropical Lowland Rainforest Transformation Systems (Sumatra, Indonesia) - EFForTS", University of Goettingen, Germany

July 2012 - Apr. 2016: PhD in Earth System Analysis, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany + six-month research stay at the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil

Sept. 2012: Engineer's degree in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (Major: Geographic Information Systems Applied To Environment and Land Management), ENSAT (École Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Toulouse), France

Jan. 2011 - June 2011: Internship at the Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute, Ås, Norway

June 2010 - Dec. 2010: Internship at the IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement) in the research program "Biogeochemistry, Agroecology and Agricultural watershed management", Hanoi, Vietnam

July 2006 - Sept. 2008: Classe Préparatoire aux Grandes Écoles (equivalent to BSc.) in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology and Mathematics at ENCPB (École Nationale de Chimie Physique Biologie), Paris, France

Awards and distinctions

2016: PhD thesis graded magna cum laude (very good)

Nov. 2015 - Apr. 2016: Start-up research fellowship from the DFG-funded International Research Training Group "Dynamical Phenomena in Complex Networks"

2015: Merian Award for best presentations at the annual meeting of the Society of Tropical Ecology (GTÖ) (1st price)

2014: Editor's Choice Article for my article published in Europhysics Letter

2013: Xavier Bernard foundation Award from the French Academy of Agriculture for best diploma theses (1st price)

Reviews for journals: New Phytologist, Nature Climate Change, Climate Dynamics, Biogeosciences, Global Ecology and Biogeography


Peer-reviewed articles

Grossman, J.J., Vanhellemont, M., Barsoum, N., Bauhus, J., Bruelheide, H., Castagneyrol, B., Cavender-Bares, J., Eisenhauer, N., Ferlian, O., Gravel, D., Hector, A., Jactel, H., Kreft, H., Mereu, S., Messier, C., Muys, B., Nock, C., Paquette, A., Parker, J., Perring, M.P., Ponette, Q., Reich, P.B., Schuldt, A., Staab, M., Weih, M., Zemp, D.C., Scherer-Lorenzen, M. & Verheyen, K. (2018): Synthesis and future research directions linking tree diversity to growth, survival, and damage in a global network of tree diversity experiments. Environmental and Experimental Botany. doi: 10.1016/j.envexpbot.2017.12.015

Staal, A., Tuinenburg, O., Bosmans, J., Holmgren, M., Van Nes, E., Scheffer, M., Zemp, D. C., and Dekker, S. Forest-rainfall cascades buffer against drought across the Amazon. Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/s41558-018-0177-y, 2018.

Weng, W., Luedeke, M. K. B., Zemp, D. C., Lakes, T., and Kropp, J. P. Aerial and surface rivers: downwind impacts on water availability from land use changes in Amazonia. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 22, 911-927,, 2018.

Zemp, D. C., Schleussner, C.F., Barbosa, M. J., and Rammig, A. Deforestation effects on Amazon forest resilience. Geophysical Research Letters , 44, doi:10.1002/2017GL072955, 2017. Research Highlights in Nature.

Zemp, D. C., Schleussner, C.F., Barbosa, M. J., Hirota, M., Montade, V., Sampaio, G., Staal, A., Wang-Erlandsson, L. and Rammig, A. Self-amplied Amazon forest loss due to atmosphere-vegetation feedbacks. Nature Communications, doi:10.1038/ncomms14681, 2017.

Boit, A, Sakschewski, B., Boysen, L., Crespo, A., Clement, J., Alaniz, N., Kok, K., Kolb, M., Langerwisch, F., Rammig, A., Sachse, R., van Eupen, M., von Bloh, W., Zemp, D. C. and Thonicke, K. Large-scale impact of climate change versus land-use change on future biome shifts in Latin America. Global Change Biology, 22, 3689-3701, 2016.

Zemp, D. C., Schleussner, C.-F., Barbosa, H. M. J., van der Ent, R. J., Donges, J. F., Heinke, J., Sampaio, G., and Rammig, A.: On the importance of cascading moisture recycling in South America, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 14, 13337-13359, 2014.

Zemp, D. C., Wiedermann, M., Kurths, J., Rammig, A. and Donges, J. F.: Node-weighted measures for complex networks with directed and weighted edges for studying continental moisture recycling, Europhysics Letters, 107, 58005, 2014.


Zemp, D. C., Feedbacks between vegetation and rainfall in the Amazon region - a complex network approach. PhD thesis, Geography department of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 2016.

Zemp, D. C., The complexity of the fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (fAPAR), Diploma thesis, École Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Toulouse, 2012.