Karina Schäfer

Karina Schäfer


karinavr [at] newark.rutgers.edu



Office Location

431 Boyden Hall

Ecosystem Ecology

    My primary research interests lie in the realm of global change and its effects on terrestrial ecosystems. To this point, my research has focused on refining carbon budgets of forest ecosystems through sapflow based canopy conductance. In my current project I am adapting and re-parameterizing the Canopy Conductance Constrained Assimilation model (4CA) which I originally developed for a pine ecosystem at Duke. Once the model has been parameterized and validated at a specific site, climate change scenarios can be tested by using predicted values and implementing into the model predicting the outcome for that scenario for that site.
    While it is extremely important to assess sinks of CO2 and changes to sink strengths that might be expected under rising CO2 conditions, I am now directing my research into the sources as well. I am currently working on expanding my work into urban ecology through eddy-covariance measurements. In collaboration with the Meadowland Environmental Research Institute I will be measuring CO2 fluxes in the Meadowlands to assess source and sink strength and devise a carbon budget. As CO2 has become a trading commodity, assessment of a city CO2 budget with a bottom up approach can help finding mitigating strategies (Stern Report 2007).


Diploma in Biology, University of Bayreuth, Germany, 1997.
Ph.D., Duke University, 2002.


   Renninger, H.J., Wadhwa, S., Gallagher, F.J., Vanderklein, D., Schafer, K.V.R.  (2013).  Allometry and photosynthetic capacity of poplar (Populus deltoides) along a metal contamination gradient in an urban brownfield.  URBAN ECOSYSTEMS 16(2):247-263.

   Medvigy, D., Clark, K.L., Skonronski, N.S., Schafer, K.V.R. (2012).  Simulated impacts of insect defoliation on forest carbon dynamics.  ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/7/4/045703.

    Vanderklein, D.W., Schäfer K.V.R., Martinez-Vilalta. (2012).  Crown conductance in dwarf, medium and tall pitch pines in the Long Island Pine Plains.  TREES - STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION, doi: 10.1007/s00468-012-0736-1.

     Renninger, H.J., Schäfer K.V.R. (2012).  Comparison of tissue heat balance- and thermal dissipation-derived sap flow measurements in ring-porous oaks and a pine.  FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE 3, 103.

     Parsekian, A.D., Slater, L., Schäfer K.V.R. (2012).  Small root biomass effect on the dielectric properties of soil.  VADOSE ZONE JOURNAL 2, doi: 10.2136/​vzj2011.0049.

     Robinson, J.L., Slater, L.D., Schäfer K.V.R. (2012).  Evidence for spatial variability in hydraulic redistribution within an oak-pine forest from resistivity imaging.  JOURNAL OF HYDROLOGY 430-431, 69-79.

     Schäfer K.V.R. (2011). Canopy stomatal conductance following drought, disturbance, and death in an upland oak/pine forest in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, USA.  FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE 2, 15.

     Domec, J.C., Schäfer K.V.R., Oren, R., Kim, H.S., McCarthy, H.R. (2010).  Variable conductivity and embolism in roots and branches of four contrasting tree species and their impacts on whole-plant hydraulic performance under future atmospheric CO2 concentration.  TREE PHYSIOLOGY 30, 1001-1015.

     Schäfer K.V.R., Clark, K.L., Skowronski, N., Hamerlynck, E.P.  (2010).  Impact of insect defoliation on forest carbon balance as assessed with a canopy assimilation model.  GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY 16, 546-560.

     Schäfer K.V.R., Oren R., Ellsworth D.S., Lai C-T, Herrick J.D., Finzi A.C., Richter D.D., Katul G.G. (2003) Exposure to Enriched CO2 Atmosphere Alters Carbon Assimilation and Allocation in a Pine Forest Ecosystem. GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY 9, 1378-1400.

     Schäfer K.V.R., Oren R., Katul G.G., Lai C.-T. (2002) Hydrologic balance in an intact temperate forest ecosystem under ambient and elevated CO2 concentration. GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY 8 (9): 895-911.

   Katul, G.G., C.-T. Lai, M. Siqueira, and K. Schäfer, J.D. Albertson, K. Wesson, D. Ellsworth, and R. Oren (2001): Inferring Scalar Sources and Sinks within Canopies using Forward and Inverse Methods. In: Observations and modeling of land-surface fluxes within hydrologic systems, ed., V. Lakshmi, J.D. Albertson, and Schaake J., American Geophysical Union, Washington D.C.

     Katul, G.G., C. T. Lai, J.D. Albertson, B. Vidakovic, K.V.R. Schäfer, C.I. Hsieh, R. Oren (2001): Quantifying the complexity in mapping energy inputs and hydrologic state variables into land-surface fluxes, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS 28: (17) 3305-3307.

     Lai CT, Katul G, Oren R, Ellsworth D, Schäfer K (2000): Modeling CO2 and water vapor turbulent flux distributions within a forest canopy. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES 105: (D21) 26333-26351.