Research Department Life Science Systems

The Research Department Life Science Systems (LSS) investigates natural and used systems from an ecosystem perspective, including social and economic aspects - for example in the forestry and agricultural sectors.

The focus is on understanding the ecological processes underlying the functioning of ecosystems and the development of sustainable ecosystem management strategies. In principle, all compartments (soil to atmosphere) and all groups of organisms in the ecosystem (plants, animals, fungi, microbes, but also humans), their interactions, as well as element and water cycles are included in our considerations. The department understands ecosystems as part of socio-ecological systems and covers important interfaces between ecosystems and humans, to provide science-based support of a good life of people.

Department Head

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Weisser

Chair for Terrestrial Ecology

Tel. +49 8161 71 3495

Research Focus Areas

Within the European research landscape, the department is unique in that it has a strong focus on land use at the landscape scale, and that it develops strategies that transcend individual ecosystems and disciplines. Research integrates agricultural, forest, freshwater and urban ecosystems and addresses especially their links and interactions.

Insights into our research

From the soil to the treetops

From the treetops down to the soil level, plants and microorganism have to adapt to climate change. Down to the nanometer level, researchers are tracking these alterations.

Green infrastructure for cooler cities

Natural air conditioning: green stripes along a river can influence the climate of a city. Prof. Stephan Pauleit is investigating the effects of different tree species.

Research on the lungs of our planet

In the ecosystem experiment “AmazonFACE,” Prof. Anja Rammig studies the interplay between forest and atmosphere.

Protecting groundwater without compromising yields

How to determine optimal fertilizer quantities without polluting groundwater with excess nitrate?

Citizen Science: Tracking Climate Change in your Backyard

How does global warming affect plants, pollen allergies, animals and tree borders in Bavaria? Together with the citizens of Bavaria, Prof. Menzel aims to find a practical means of handling climate change:


The interactive citizen science portal BAYSICS provides a forum for this dialog. Explore your environment, enter your observations and join the research.

Read the interview with Prof. Menzel

Early Flowering

Prof. Annette Menzel conducts research on global warming and its impacts on humans and nature in future. Learn how early flowering or phenology can be a bioindicator for climate change.

Read more

Urban Animals

In his citizen science project, Prof. Wolfgang Weisser conducts research on animals in the city in order to change urban planning processes and give greater consideration to the needs of humans and animals.

Learn more

Infrastructure & Equipment of the Department

A strength of the department is the access to state-of-the-art experimental stations and long-term experimentsclimate chambers, greenhouses and laboratories. The department manages or has access to a network of experimental and observation sites both nationally and internationally where studies are carried out under field conditions.

In Bavaria, these are three TUM research stations, which are primarily used by the Life Science Systems department: the Environmental Research Station Schneefernerhaus near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Friedrich N. Schwarz Station in Berchtesgaden as well as the Limnological Research Station Iffeldorf.

Professorship for Land Surface-Atmosphere Interactions (Prof. Rammig / Apl. Prof. Grams)

  • KROOF: Kranzberg Forest Roof
  • experimental plot with a size of 0.5 ha
  • mixed stand comprising large groups of beech surrounded by spruce
  • research station with canopy crane, power supply, ecophysiological and meteorological equipment

Chair of Soil Science (Prof. Kögel-Knabner)

  • NanoSIMS: Nanoscale Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry
  • Cameca NanoSIMS 50L instrument
  • Mass spectrometers such as NanoSIMS make the distribution of chemical elements in the soil visible

Chair of Renaturation Ecology (Prof. Kollmann / Dr. Teixera)

  • research facility TUMmesa: TUM model ecosystem analyser
  • eight walk-in climate chambers designed for advanced ecosystem research

Associate Professorship of Geomorphology and Soil Science (Prof. Völkel)

  • Critical Zone Observatories (CZOs) research field sites
  • investigation of terrestrial processes and systems through detailed field observations and in situ measurements
  • operates at the watershed scale (carbonatic Ammer Catchment, alpine Ammer Mts. and foreland; crystalline Otter Catchment, mid-mountainous Bavarian Forest)

Contact persons and internal area

Representation in the School Council

  • Prof. Dr. Jürgen Peter Geist
  • Prof. Dr. Johannes Kollmann
  • Prof. Dr. Sara Diana Leonhardt
  • Prof. Dr. Annette Menzel

 View the School Council of TUM School of Life Sciences

Finance Committee

  • Prof. Dr. Monika Egerer
  • Prof. Dr. Axel Göttlein
  • Prof. Dr. Johannes Kollmann
  • Prof. Dr. Anja Rammig

Appointment strategy (open committee)

  • Prof. Dr. Kurt-Jürgen Hülsbergen
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Knoke
  • Prof. Dr. Johannes Kollmann
  • Prof. Dr. Annette Menzel
  • Prof. Dr. Rupert Seidl
  • Prof. Dr. Johannes Sauer

IT Officer (Liason ITW)

  • Dr. Martin Döllerer

Website Representative (Liason School Office)

  • Prof. Dr. Johannes Kollmann