Dr. Uwe Winkler

Staff until 2014

Research interests

Nutrient ecology of epiphytic plants

Vascular epiphytes living in tree crowns of tropical forests have to cope with low and highly intermittent nutrient supply from rainwater and stem flow. Overlapping leaf bases often form a "tank-like "structure retaining water and nutrients in these plants. Nutrient uptake is achieved by specialized leaf trichomes. We try to understand physiological and ecological adaptions to resource limitation of epiphytes by analysing uptake kinetics, plant distribution, and metabolism using radioactive labelled nutrients. Leaf trichomes possess highly effective transporters for uptake of phosphate and potassium minimizing dilution and loss of nutrients captured in tanks. Uptake is an ATP-depending process following mechanisms comparable to those of root hairs. Available phosphorus is taken up almost quantitatively and the surplus not needed for current metabolism is stored in phytic acid, leading to an additional independence from a highly fluctuating external supply.

Additional functions

  • Head of the central isotopic laboratories.
  • Coordinator for applications of x-rays.
  • Department Coordinator of international student exchange (Sokrates/Erasmus)
  • Department coordinator for lab security