Mirjam Pfeiffer


Dr. Mirjam Pfeiffer

Member of Emmy Noether Research Group 'Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in the Earth System'

Research interests

I am interested in understanding processes, interactions and feedback mechanisms between biotic and abiotic components of the Earth system. In the past I have studied how changes in environmental conditions during an abrupt climate change event at the termination of the last glaciation impacted the terrestrial nitrogen cycle and the release of nitrous oxide from soils on a local to regional scale by combining a process-based biogeochemical model with a scenario of climate and vegetation change based on multiproxy data. I am also strongly interested in the role of natural and anthropogenic wildland fires and developed a new fire module for DGMVs that is particularly suited to investigate climate-human-fire relationships prior to the Industrial Revolution. In  my current research I am focusing on the feedback mechanisms between grazing, browsing, fire, wood extraction and savanna degradation in the Limpopo Province, South Africa using the aDGVM2. The target of this research is to define “optimal” livestock, fire management and fuel wood extraction strategies for the rangeland in this area that will contribute to define sustainable rangeland management practices at regional level for current and future conditions.


List of publications:

M. Pfeiffer and J. O. Kaplan. Response of terrestrial N2O and NOx emissions to abrupt climate  change. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science. 9(1). 012001, 2012, doi:10.1088/1755-1315/9/1/012001
M. Pfeiffer, J. van Leeuwen, W. O. van der Knaap, and J. O. Kaplan. The effect of abrupt climate  warming on biogeochemical cycling and terrestrial N2O emissions in a terrestrial  ecosystem. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 391, 74-83, doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.06.015, 2013

M. Pfeiffer, A. Spessa, and J. O. Kaplan. A model for global biomass burning in preindustrial time: LPJ-LMfire (v1.0): Geoscientific Model Development, 6, 643-685, doi:10.5194/gmd-6-643-2013, 2013
M. Pfeiffer and J. O. Kaplan. Europe’s LGM vegetation enigma: the role of fire, humans, and  climate. Manuscript in prep. for submission

L. T. Murray, L. J. Murray, J. O. Kaplan, E. D. Sofen, M. Pfeiffer, and B. Alexander. Factors  controlling variability in the oxidative capacity of the troposphere since the Last Glacial  Maximum: Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss. 13, 46 p., 2013, doi: 10.5194/acpd-13-24517-2013

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