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Karina Engelbrecht Clemmensen

Karina Engelbrecht Clemmensen
My overall research interest is to incorporate detailed knowledge of fungal communities and their functioning into an ecosystem framework - particularly in relation to carbon balance and environmental change in Arctic and Boreal biomes.


I have a background in plant ecological research and defended my PhD thesis on ‘Ectomycorrhiza and Arctic Ecosystem Response to Global Change’ at University of Copenhagen in October 2006. I came to Uppsala in March 2008 to work as a Marie Curie Fellow for two years, and stayed as an internally funded postdoc for an additional two years. I am currently continuing my work here as an assistant researcher, mainly funded by external sources.

Current projects

  • Mechanistic understanding of the mycorrhizal fungal carbon sink of northern terrestrial ecosystems (VR)
  • Are current methods for evaluating forest conservational values, accurate, objective and cost-efficient? (FORMAS)
  • Resilience of above- and belowground biota and ecosystem processes to fire disturbance (FORMAS)
  • Integrated warming responses of vegetation and soil microbial communities in the Arctic (FORMAS)
  • Linking forest ecosystem C balance to spatiotemporal dynamics of fungal communities (FORMAS)
  • Tree-fungi-soil interactions in the subarctic-alpine forest-heath ecotone
  • Fungal successions in a long-term boreal forest chronosequence

Other research collaborations concern

  • Effects of plant species and functional type removals on fungal comuunity composition in a long-term boreal forest chronosequence (Wardle/Fanin, SLU Umeå)
  • Biomass dynamics of mycorrhizal fungi – importance of growth, longevity and turnover for carbon input to soils (PhD project by Andreas Hagenbo)
  • Linking fungal communities and long-term carbon dynamics in boreal forest soils (PhD project by Julia Kyaschenko)
  • Competition between the mycorrhizal and saprotrophic fungal communities of boreal forest soils (PhD project by Erica Sterkenburg)
  • Fungal peroxidases involved in the decomposition of recalcitrant organic matter in boreal forest ecosystems (PhD project by Inga Bödeker)
  • Nitrogen form preferences in mycorrhizal mycelial communities in a N deposition gradient using 15N-labeled substrate mixtures

Recent publications

  • Giesler R, Clemmensen KE, Wardle DA, Klaminder J, Bindler R (2017). Boreal forests sequester large amounts of mercury over millennial time scales in the absence of wildfire. Environmental Science & Technology

  • Hagenbo A, Clemmensen KE, Finlay R, Kyaschenko J, Lindahl BD, Fransson P, Ekblad A (2017). Changes in turnover rather than production regulate biomass of ectomycorrhizal fungal mycelium across a Pinus sylvestris chronosequence. New Phytologist

  • Baskaran P, Hyvönen R, Berglund SL, Clemmensen KE, Ågren GI, Lindahl BD, Manzoni S (2017). Modelling the influence of ectomycorrhizal decomposition on plant nutrition and soil carbon sequestration in boreal forest ecosystems. New Phytologist

  • Kyaschenko J, Clemmensen KE, Hagenbo A, Karltun E, Lindahl BD (2017). Shift in fungal communities and associated enzyme activities along an age gradient of managed Pinus sylvestris stands. ISME Journal

  • Jonsson M, Snäll T, Asplund J, Clemmensen KE, Dahlberg A, Kumordzi BB, Lindahl BD, Oksanen J, Wardle DA (2016). Divergent responses of β-diversity among organism groups to a strong environmental gradient. Ecosphere 7:e01535

  • Bödeker ITM, Lindahl BD, Olson Å, Clemmensen KE (2016). Mycorrhizal and saprotrophic fungal guilds compete for the same organic substrates but affect decomposition rates differently. Functional Ecology 30:1967-1978

  • Sterkenburg E, Bahr A, Brandström Durling M, Clemmensen KE, Lindahl BD (2015). Changes in fungal communities along a boreal forest soil fertility gradient. New Phytologist, 207:1145-1158

  • Clemmensen KE, Finlay RD, Dahlberg A, Stenlid S, Wardle DA, Lindahl BD (2015). Carbon sequestration is related to mycorrhizal fungal community shifts during long term succession in boreal forests. New Phytologist 205: 1525-1536.

  • Bödeker I, Clemmensen KE, Olsson Å, de Boer W, Lindahl BD (2014). Ectomycorrhizal Cortinarius species participate in enzymatic oxidation of humus in northern forest ecosystems. New Phytologist 203:245-25

  • Clemmensen KE, Bahr A, Ovaskainen O, Dahlberg A, Ekblad A, Wallander H, Stenlid J, Finlay RD, Wardle DA, Lindahl BD (2013). Roots and associated fungi drive long-term carbon sequestration in boreal forest. Science, 339: 1615-1618.  And see also Perspectives article by Treseder KK & Holden SR (2013) Fungal carbon sequestration. Science, 339: 1528-1529

  • Ihrmark K, Bödeker I, Cruz-Martinez K, Friberg H, Kubartova A, Schenck J, Strid Y, Stenlid J, Brandström-Durling M, Clemmensen KE, Lindahl BD (2012) New primers to amplify the fungal ITS2 region - evaluation by 454-sequencing of artificial and natural communities. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 82, 666-677

  • Durling MB, Clemmensen KE, Stenlid J, Lindahl BD (2010) SCATA – Sequence Clustering and Analysis of Tagged Amplicons. Publicly available here.


Researcher, Associate Senior Lecturer at the Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology; Markmikrobiologi
Telephone: 018-671874
Postal address:
Skoglig mykologi och växtpatologi , Box 7026
750 07 UPPSALA
Visiting address: Almas Allé 5, Uppsala
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