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 593: Independent Studies and Projects
  • ENVIRON 898: Program Area Seminar
  • ENVIRON 899: Master's Project

Representative Publications

  • Metcalfe, DB; Ricciuto, D; Palmroth, S; Campbell, C; Hurry, V; Mao, J; Keel, SG; Linder, S; Shi, X; Näsholm, T; Ohlsson, KEA; Blackburn, M; Thornton, PE; Oren, R, Informing climate models with rapid chamber measurements of forest carbon uptake., Global Change Biology, vol 23 no. 5 (2017), pp. 2130-2139 [10.1111/gcb.13451] [abs].
  • Franklin, O; Cambui, CA; Gruffman, L; Palmroth, S; Oren, R; Näsholm, T, The carbon bonus of organic nitrogen enhances nitrogen use efficiency of plants., Plant Cell & Environment, vol 40 no. 1 (2017), pp. 25-35 [10.1111/pce.12772] [abs].
  • Tor-Ngern, P; Oren, R; Oishi, AC; Uebelherr, JM; Palmroth, S; Tarvainen, L; Ottosson-Löfvenius, M; Linder, S; Domec, J-C; Näsholm, T, Ecophysiological variation of transpiration of pine forests: synthesis of new and published results., Ecological Applications, vol 27 no. 1 (2017), pp. 118-133 [10.1002/eap.1423] [abs].
  • Hasselquist, NJ; Metcalfe, DB; Inselsbacher, E; Stangl, Z; Oren, R; Näsholm, T; Högberg, P, Greater carbon allocation to mycorrhizal fungi reduces tree nitrogen uptake in a boreal forest., Ecology, vol 97 no. 4 (2016), pp. 1012-1022 [abs].
  • Kim, D; Oren, R; Qian, SS, Response to CO2 enrichment of understory vegetation in the shade of forests., Global Change Biology, vol 22 no. 2 (2016), pp. 944-956 [10.1111/gcb.13126] [abs].

Additional Information