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Portrait von Onno Muller

Dr. Onno Muller

Deputy Group Leader of Shoot Dynamics

Head of Field Phenotyping

In field phenotyping we aim to quantifying plant traits under natural or controlled (e.g. CO2) growth conditions in the field non-invasively. Hereby we focus specifically on leaf photosynthesis and link this to transport processes and canopy functioning.
For non-invasive photosynthesis measurements we use the leaf fluorescence signal. Leaf fluorescence is quantified among others by the light induced fluorescence transient (LIFT) method. The collaborative effort of IBG-2 researchers with the first terrestrial LIFT device (e.g. Pieruschka et al. 2015, Raesch et al. 2015) resulted in a small phenotyping device we adapted to multiple positioning systems.
Our phenotyping efforts concentrate on crop species in Germany (e.g. Oekol, Dataplant) but also beyond (e.g. CASS). Therefore we maintain fields with dedicated genotypes (common experiment) as well as a Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) facility for phenotyping under elevated CO2 concentrations in the field (BreedFACE).
Within the Shoot Dynamics group we collaborate to understand jointly leaf fluorescence from chloroplast to satellite level, within IBG-2 to understand whole plant (transport) processes, and beyond IBG-2 to model leaf fluorescence (e.g. Vilfan et al. 2016) and are open for new collaborations on field phenotyping.

My further research focused on bottlenecks in photosynthesis under different environmental conditions, especially temperature. I showed among others foliar vascular traits, that determine the sugar export and delivery of water to leaves, link to photosynthetic performance of the leaves (Muller et al. 2014a) with specific vascular anatomical adjustment depending on the phloem loading mode (Muller et al. 2014b) while working together with Barbara Demmig-Adams and Williams Adams at Colorado University, US. Before these detailed measurements I worked at a much larger scale in the forest where I manipulated soil (Ueda et al. 2013) and branch temperature (Nakamura et al. 2010) in a warming experiment in a deciduous forest in Hokkaido, Japan, while working with Tsutom Hiura and Masahiro Nakamura. Both these research topics originated from small scale leaf level chloroplast adjustment anatomical measurements and seasonal changes in leaf nitrogen, allocation and modeled optimal contents, under changing natural temperature conditions (see further publications on google scholar)) while working together with Kouki Hikosaka and Tadaki Hirose at Tohoku University, Japan and Marinus Werger at Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


Forschungszentrum Jülich, IBG-2
52428 Jülich


Phone: +49 2461 61-8777