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

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

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Ward, EJ; Oren, R; Seok Kim, H; Kim, D; Tor-Ngern, P; Ewers, BE; McCarthy, HR; Oishi, AC; Pataki, DE; Palmroth, S; Phillips, NG; Schäfer, KVR, Evapotranspiration and water yield of a pine-broadleaf forest are not altered by long-term atmospheric [CO2 ] enrichment under native or enhanced soil fertility., Global Change Biology, vol 24 no. 10 (2018), pp. 4841-4856 [10.1111/gcb.14363] [abs].