CV page

Martin Weih

Martin Weih
Martin Weih is a professor of plant ecology and eco-physiology of agricultural crops. Main research focus is on plant - plant and plant - environment interactions in crop production. Major research activities focus on the evaluation and improvement of resource use efficiency (mainly nutrients and water) in various agricultural crops; the improvement of biomass production and ecological sustainability in biomass crops grown on agricultural land (mainly Salix and Populus); and the ecological consequences of biotechnology in agriculture.


Leader of a research team currently consisting of Associate Professor Giulia Vico, senior researcher Dr. Carolyn Glynn, four post-docs (Dr. Ortrud Jäck, Dr. Guiomar Ruiz-Pérez, Dr. Ida Kollberg, Dr. Lucia Tamburino) and four PhD students (Stefanie Hoeber, James Ajal, Hui Liu, Xiangyu Luan); part of the plant ecology & weed biology group.

A complete list of publications is found here.

Editor for the scientific journals Plant and Soil, BioEnergy Research and Scientific Reports.

Contact: email; phone +46 (0)18 67 25 43;


Linking plant traits to productivity and ecosystem processes for development of sustainable solutions in agriculture

We investigate how we can make the best use of crops and the environmental conditions under which they are grown, in order to develop sustainable solutions for the production of food, feed and biomass. To achieve this, we investigate the links between individual plant traits (crop species or cultivars), crop yield, the production systems design (e.g. nutrient management, cultivation in monocultures or mixtures), and the processes that are relevant for supporting important ecosystem services (e.g. reduced nutrient losses, pest and disease control, enhanced biodiversity). Study systems mainly include cereals and cereal – legume mixtures for food and feed production; and willows and poplars grown on agricultural land for biomass production. Specifically, we address the above issues by means of various research projects with external funding from Formas, the Swedish Energy Agency, the Swedish farmers’ foundation for agricultural research (SLF), and the European Union (Horizon 2020).

In the ECOLINK-Salix project, which is part of the global tree diversity network TreeDivNet, three experimental field trials are grown along a 1500 km latitudinal gradient from Uppsala (Sweden) to Rostock and Freiburg (Germany). The overall goal of ECOLINK-Salix is assessing the effects of genotype identity and diversity in willow short rotation coppice on various ecosystem functions and, ultimately, willow growth and yield stability (e.g. resistance to drought and pests). ECOLINK-Salix is now also a core infrastructure for the investigation of below-ground carbon cycling and soil organic matter modelling within the OPTUS – Optimized Utilization of Salix project, to which we contribute. The sustainable production of biomass is also addressed in the projects SAMBA (Salix molecular breeding activities), CLAP (CLimate-Adapted Poplar through more efficient breeding and better tools for matching genotype and site), and Dendromass4Europe (EU, Horizon 2020). The main focus of these projects is on genotype environment interaction, tree improvement and stakeholder involvement.

Focus on genotype – environment interaction, crop improvement and stakeholder interaction is also a main characteristic of the NEWp (Nutrient Efficient Wheat partnership) project, which is a collaborative research project linking root characteristics, nutrient use efficiency and the sustainable production of spring wheat. NEWp involves the collaboration with a wheat breeder (Lantmännen) and an advanced plant phenotyping facility in Germany, which will give us access to the technology of high-speed phenotyping of a large number of relevant plant traits that we later try to link to ecological processes in subsequent field-testing.

While NEWp mainly explores the route genotype – plant traits (phenotype) – resource economy, the project Improving yield and quality in Swedish wheat production – influence of nitrogen fertilization strategy and cultivar (project leader Karin Hamnér, Dept. of Soil and Environment, SLU) links wheat cultivar characteristics to nutrient management in order to improve the efficiency and sustainability in wheat production.

DIVERSify (Designing InnoVative plant teams for Ecosystem Resilience and agricultural Sustainability) is a European consortium of scientists, farmers, advisors, breeders and SMEs to co-construct a new ecological approach and tools to investigate the mechanisms underpinning the benefits associated with cropping plant teams, and the plant traits and agronomic practices promoting these benefits. The plant teams which we investigate in Swedish field trials include wheat – faba bean and barley – pea (all grown in monocultures and mixtures).

We are also interested in the evaluation of Ecological consequences of biotechnology in agriculture - as a part of the Mistra Biotech research programme; major task is here providing analyses and syntheses with respect to the ecological consequences of biotechnology in crop production.



Doctoral degree
1998, Ecological Botany, Uppsala University

Postdoctoral work
1998, University of Alaska at Fairbanks

Qualification as Associate Professor
2001, subject Plant Ecology, SLU

Promotion to professor
2009, subject ecophysiology of agricultural crops, SLU

Position as full professor
2013, subject plant ecology with specialisation on plant-plant and plant-environment interaction, SLU

Current position
Full professor at the Department of Crop Production Ecology, SLU; permanent position; c. 10 % teaching, 10 % administration, 80 % research

Author of ca. 200 publications, of which ca. 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 10 publications in peer-reviewed book chapters, 10 popular science publications, 80 reports, conference abstracts and other publications; H-index 30 (Web of Science) and 37 (Google Scholar).

Regular teaching at all levels e.g. within the following courses at the SLU:

BI0987 Energy systems from a biogeoscience perspective, 10 HEC, A-level

BI1050 Crop production ecology, 20 HEC, B-level

BI1007 Biology and production of agricultural plants, 10 HEC, master/D-level (advanced)

Production of biomass for energy - quantity and quality aspects, 3 ECTS, PhD course (course leader)

PhD students
Main supervisor of 5 PhD students who have defended their theses (Dr. K. Embaye, PhD; Dr. A. Adler; PhD; L. Asplund, PhD; J. Hoogesteger, Lic.; F. Pourazari, PhD) and co-supervisor of 6 PhD students who have defended their theses (A. Karacic, PhD; A. Mehari, PhD; S. Baum, Dr. rer. nat., A. Balasus, Dr. rer. nat.; C. Pfabel, Dr. rer. nat.; K. Hamnér, AgrDr.).

Currently main supervisor of 1 PhD student (S. Hoeber).

Mentor for postdoctoral students
L. Bonosi (2009 to 2011), M. Torp (2011), F. Beyer (2013 to 2015), O. Jäck (from August 2016)

Opponent for one doctoral dissertation. Member of 14 PhD and 2 Licentiate examination committees.

Referee on research grant applications for the Wageningen University (The Netherlands) and the Austrian Science Fund (FWF); member of the evaluation committee for basic energy-related research at the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndighetens grundforskningskommitte). Commissions to peer review for a number of scientific journals (e.g. Annals of Botany, Field Crops Research, Forest Ecology and Management, Functional Ecology, New Phytologist, Tree Physiology).

External funding
Grants from e.g. the EU, Nordic Council of Ministers, Formas, Swedish Energy Agency, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

1999-2005 Director of studies at the Dept. of Short Rotation Forestry, SLU;

National contact person for Sweden within IPC-PWB (since 1999)

Expert evaluator for the Swedish EPA: Salix plantations on agricultural land: possibilities for biodiversity and landscape design (2005-2006)

Chair of the Swedish National Poplar Commission (2005-2008)

Member of the Management Committee, COST action E38: Woody root processes (2005 – 2008)

President of the International Poplar Commission (IPC) since 2012

Chair of the steering committee for the Graduate school “Bioenergy” at the SLU

Head of Department of Crop Production Ecology (2010 - 2016) 

Selected publications

Weih M., Westerbergh A., Lundquist P-O. (2017) Role of Nutrient-Efficient Plants for Improving Crop Yields: Bridging Plant Ecology, Physiology, and Molecular Biology. In: Plant Macronutrient Use Efficiency [Eds. M.A. Hossain, T. Kamiya, D. Burritt, L-S. Phan Tran, T. Fujiwara] Academic Press/Elsevier, London, UK, pp. 31-44.

Hamnér K., Weih M. , Eriksson J., Kirchmann H. (2017) Influence of nitrogen supply on macro- and micronutrient accumulation during growth of winter wheat. Field Crops Research 213: 118-129.

Berlin S., Hallingbäck H.R., Beyer F., Nordh N.-E., Weih M., Rönnberg-Wästljung A.C. (2017) Genetics of phenotypic plasticity and biomass traits in hybrid willows across contrasting environments and years. Annals of Botany 120: 87-100.

Hoeber S., Fransson P., Prieto-Ruiz I., Manzoni S., Weih M. (2017)  Two Salix genotypes differ in productivity and nitrogen economy when grown in monoculture and mixture. Frontiers in Plant Science 8: 231.

Weih M., Pourazari F., Vico G. (2016) Nutrient stoichiometry in winter wheat: Element concentration pattern reflects developmental stage and weather. Scientific Reports 6: 35958.

Tidåker P., Bergkvist G., Bolinder M., Eckersten H., Johnsson H., Kätterer T., Weih M. (2016)  Estimating the environmental footprint of barley with improved nitrogen uptake efficiency - a Swedish scenario study. European Journal of Agronomy 80:45-54.

Hallingbäck H.R., Fogelqvist J., Powers S.J., Turrion-Gomez J., Rossiter R., Amey J., Martin T., Weih M., Gyllenstrand N., Karp A., Lagercrantz U., Hanley S.J., Berlin S., Rönnberg-Wästljung A.C. (2016)  Association mapping in Salix viminalis L. (Salicaceae) – identification of candidate genes associated with growth and phenologyGCB Bioenergy 8: 670-685. 

Weih M., Polle A. (2016) Editorial: Bridging biotechnology, biodiversity and ecology in agricultural and forestry research. Frontiers in Plant Science 7: 210.

Marquardt K., Vico G., Glynn C., Weih M., Eksvärd K., Dalin P., Björkman C. (2016) Farmer perspectives on introducing perennial cereal in Swedish farming systems: A sustainability analysis of plant traits, farm management, and ecological implications. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 40:432-450.

Verheyen K., Vanhellemont M., Auge H., Baeten L., Baraloto C., Barsoum N., Bilodeau-Gauthier S., Bruelheide H., Castagneyrol B., Godbold D., Haase J., Hector A., Jactel H., Koricheva J., Loreau M., Mereu S., Messier C., Muys B., Nolet P., Paquette A., Parker J., Perring M., Ponette Q., Potvin C., Reich P., Smith A., Weih M., Scherer-Lorenzen M. (2016)  Contributions of a global network of tree diversity experiments to sustainable forest plantationsAmbio 45: 29-41. 

Vico G., Manzoni S., Nkurunziza L., Murphy K., Weih M. (2016) Tradeoffs between seed output and life span - A quantitative comparison of traits between annual and perennial congeneric species. New Phytologist 209: 104-114.

Complete lists of publications and citations are found here, at ResearcherID and Google Scholar.

Professor at the Department of Crop Production Ecology; Plant Ecology Unit
Telephone: 018-672543
Postal address:
Inst för växtproduktionsekologi, Box 7043
750 07 UPPSALA
Visiting address: Ulls väg 16, Uppsala