Biodiversity, Macroecology and Biogeography

Dr. (Delphine) Clara Zemp


email: delphine-clara.zemp[at]
phone: +49-(0)551-39-21857
address: Büsgwenweg 1, 37077 Göttingen
office: 1.136

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.

Projects (funded by the German Research Foundation):

I am currently postdoctoral researcher in the Biodiversity Enrichment Experiment in Oil Palm Plantations of the Colaborative Research Center "Ecological and Socioeconomic Functions of Tropical Lowland Rainforest Transformation Systems (Sumatra, Indonesia) - EFForTS"

I previously investivated vegetation-rainfall feedbacks in the Amazon region as part of my PhD in the International Research Training Group "Dynamical Phenomena in Complex Networks".


2016: PhD in Georgraphy
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

2012: Engineer's degree in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
National Polytechnic Institute of Toulouse (INP-ENSAT), France

2008: Classe Préparatoire aux Grandes Écoles (equivalent to BSc.) in Natural Sciences
ENCPB Paris (École Nationale de Chimie Physique Biologie), France

Research stay in international institutes (1.5 years in total)

2015: National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil
2011: Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute, Norway
2010: French Research Institute for Development (IRD), Vietnam

Awards and distinctions

2016: PhD thesis graded magna cum laude (very good)
2016: Start-up research fellowship from the DFG-funded IRTG1740
2015: Merian Award for best presentations at the annual meeting of the Society of Tropical Ecology (GTÖ)
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

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


Since 2018: Social media representative for EFForTS group Biodiversity
Since 2017: Organizer of a global school-scientist network (SciEd Network)
2014: Invited speacker at the German-Brazilian dialog for Science, Research and Inovation



Zemp, D. C., Gérard, A., Hölscher, D., Irawan, B., Sundawati, L., Teuscher, M., Kreft, H. Species diversity enhances tree growth in oil palm agroforestry. In review.

Wei, W., Costa, L., Lüdeke, M. K. B, Zemp, D. C. Aerial River Management by Smart Cross-border Reforestation. In review.

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.