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Karina Engelbrecht Clemmensen

Karina Clemmensen
My overarching research interest is to incorporate knowledge about fungal communities and the processes they affect into an ecosystem framework. A continued main interest has been to understand the roles of ectomycorrhizal and ericoid mycorrhizal fungi in relation to nitrogen cycling and carbon balance particularly in Arctic and Boreal biomes, but I am currently developing a new line of research focused on fungal ecology in semi-natural grasslands.


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 the Department of Forest Mycology & Plant Pathology in March 2008 to work as a Marie Curie Fellow for two years on the project “Ectomycorrhiza and the stability of soil organic matter in a changing arctic” together with Björn Lindahl and Roger Finlay. After that I continued my work at Mykopat, first as an internally funded postdoc for an additional two years and then as an assistant researcher, mainly funded by external sources. In July 2017, I started a position as associate senior lecturer at the same department within the subject area “Soil microbiology” lead by Sara Hallin.

I am currently the coordinator of NEFOM (North European Forest Mycologists) research network (SNS/EFINORD) - NEFOMSpara


"Molecular Ecology & Evolution" - First cycle course - course responsiple and teaching, 2013-2018

"Soil Biology and Biogeochemistry" - Second cycle course - course responsiple and teaching, 2019-

"Sample preparation for high-throughput sequencing of fungal communitites" - PhD course - course responsiple and teaching, 2011, 2014, 2018


Projects in the boreal forest:

Mechanistic understanding of the mycorrhizal fungal carbon sink of northern terrestrial ecosystems - testing the Gadgil and mycorrhizal trait hypotheses (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)

Linking forest ecosystem C balance to spatiotemporal dynamics of fungal communities – a temporal study in Fiby Urskog

N deposition and ectomycorrhizal fungal communities and N prefences
Fungal successions and soil processes in a long-term boreal forest chronosequence on islands in N Swedish lakes

Projects in the Arctic:

Reindeer grazing and vegetation regime shifts – what is the role of mycorrhizal types and communities?

Microbial Tundra: Integrated warming responses of vegetation and soil microbial communities in the Arctic (FORMAS)

Tree-fungi-soil interactions in the subarctic-alpine forest-heath ecotone

PRIME-TIME: the role of increasing trees and shrubs for soil C storage in the Arctic (NERC, UK) - PRIME-TIME

Selected publications

Access full texts here: ResearchGate

Kyaschenko J, Ovaskainen O, Ekblad A, Hagenbo A, Karltun E, Clemmensen KE, Lindahl BD (2018) Soil fertility in boreal forest relates to root-driven nitrogen retention and carbon sequestration in the mor layer. New Phytologist doi: 10.1111/nph.15454

Sterkenburg E, Clemmensen KE, Ekblad A, Finlay RD, Lindahl BD (2018). Contrasting effects of mycorrhizal fungi on early and late stage decomposition in a boreal forest. ISME Journal 12: 2187-2197

Wurzburger N, Clemmensen KE (2018). From mycorrhizal fungal traits to ecosystem properties - and back again. Journal of Ecology 106:463-467

Hagenbo A, Kyaschenko J, Clemmensen KE, Lindahl BD, Fransson PMA (2018). Fungal community shifts underpin declining mycelial production and turnover across a Pinus sylvestris chronosequence. Journal of Ecology 106:490-501

Kjøller R, Cruz-Paredes C, Clemmensen KE (2017). Ectomycorrhizal fungal responses to forest liming and wood ash addition: review and meta-analysis. In: Martin Lukac, Paola Grenni, Mauro Gamboni (eds) Soil Biological Communities and Ecosystem Resilience. Series: Sustainability in Plant and Crop Protection. Springer. Pp. 223-252

Kyaschenko J, Clemmensen KE, Karltun E, Lindahl BD (2017). Below-ground organic matter accumulation along a boreal forest fertility gradient relates to guild interaction within fungal communities. Ecology letters 20:1546-1555

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 51:2621-2627

Finlay RD, Clemmensen KE (2017). Immobilization of carbon in mycorrhizal biomass and secretions. In: Johnson NC, Gehring C, Jansa J eds. Mycorrhizal mediation of soil: fertility, structure, and carbon storage. Elsevier. Pp. 413-440

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 11:863-874

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 214:424-431

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 213:1452-1465

Lindahl BD, Clemmensen KE (2017). Fungal Ecology in boreal forest ecosystems. In: Martin FM (ed) Molecular Mycorrhizal Symbiosis. Springer. Pp. 397-404

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. 


Clemmensen KE, Ihrmark K, Durling MB, Lindahl BD (2016). Sample preparation for fungal community analysis by high-throughput sequencing of barcode amplicons. In: Martin FM, Uroz S eds. Microbial Environmental Genomics. Methods in Molecular Biology 1399 - Springer Series: Springer. Pp. 61-88

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: SCATA.


Senior Lecturer at the Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology; Markmikrobiologi
Telephone: +4618-671874
Postal address:
Skoglig mykologi och växtpatologi , Box 7026
750 07 UPPSALA
Visiting address: Almas Allé 5, Uppsala