Ram Oren

Ram Oren

Nicholas Professor of Earth Systems Science

With his graduate students, Dr. Oren quantifies the components of water flux in forest ecosystems and the influence of biotic and abiotic factors on water and, due to strong links between carbon and water, on carbon flux. Climate variability, including variations in air temperature, vapor pressure deficit, incoming radiation and soil moisture, and environmental change, including elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, affect the intra- and inter-annual patterns and amounts of water used by forest ecosystems, and its spatial distribution, as well as carbon uptake and sequestration. The variation of water flux influence the temporal and spatial partitioning of incoming radiation between latent and sensible heat. Using a local mass balance approach and detailed measurements of water flux and driving variables in the soil, plants, and the atmosphere, in forests from Brazil to Alaska, Dr. Oren evaluates the likely responses of different forest ecosystems to environmental change.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Nicholas Professor of Earth Systems Science
  • Professor of Ecology
  • Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Contact Information

  • Office Location: A246A Lev Sci Res Ctr, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 613-8032
  • Email Address: ramoren@duke.edu


  • Ph.D. Oregon State University, 1984
  • M.S. Oregon State University, 1980
  • B.S. Humboldt State University, 1978


global change ecology
forest management and silviculture
terrestrial ecosystems
wetland ecology

Courses Taught

  • ENVIRON 393: Research Independent Study
  • ENVIRON 503: Forest Ecosystems
  • ENVIRON 590: Special Topics
  • ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects
  • ENVIRON 898: Program Area Seminar
  • ENVIRON 899: Master's Project

Representative Publications

  • Moshelion, M; Halperin, O; Wallach, R; Oren, R; Way, DA, Role of aquaporins in determining transpiration and photosynthesis in water-stressed plants: crop water-use efficiency, growth and yield., Plant Cell & Environment, vol 38 no. 9 (2015), pp. 1785-1793 [10.1111/pce.12410] [abs].
  • Zhang, Q; Katul, GG; Oren, R; Daly, E; Manzoni, S; Yang, D, The hysteresis response of soil CO 2 concentration and soil respiration to soil temperature, Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, vol 120 no. 8 (2015), pp. 1605-1618 [10.1002/2015JG003047] [abs].
  • Lim, H; Oren, R; Palmroth, S; Tor-ngern, P; Mörling, T; Näsholm, T; Lundmark, T; Helmisaari, H-S; Leppälammi-Kujansuu, J; Linder, S, Inter-annual variability of precipitation constrains the production response of boreal Pinus sylvestris to nitrogen fertilization, Forest Ecology and Management, vol 348 (2015), pp. 31-45 [10.1016/j.foreco.2015.03.029] [abs].
  • Attia, Z; Domec, JC; Oren, R; Way, DA; Moshelion, M, Growth and physiological responses of isohydric and anisohydric poplars to drought., Journal of Experimental Botany, vol 66 no. 14 (2015), pp. 4373-4381 [10.1093/jxb/erv195] [abs].
  • Bell, DM; Ward, EJ; Oishi, AC; Oren, R; Flikkema, PG; Clark, JS, A state-space modeling approach to estimating canopy conductance and associated uncertainties from sap flux density data., Tree Physiology, vol 35 no. 7 (2015), pp. 792-802 [10.1093/treephys/tpv041] [abs].

Additional Information