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Ram Oren

Nicholas Distinguished Professor of Earth Systems Science
Environmental Sciences and Policy
Box 90328, Durham, NC 27708-0328
A246A Lev Sci Res Ctr, Durham, NC 27708


With his graduate students, Oren quantifies components of the water cycle in forest ecosystems, and their responses to biotic and abiotic factors. Relying on the strong links between the carbon and water cycles, he also studies the components of the carbon flux and their response to these factors. 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 dynamics, and amounts of water used by forest ecosystems, and their spatial distribution, as well as carbon uptake and sequestration. In turn, the variation of water flux influence the temporal and spatial partitioning of incoming radiation between latent and sensible heat. The flow of water from soil through plant leaves into the atmosphere, and the exchange of water for CO2 absorbed from the atmospheric, are among the processes theoretically best understood in plant and ecosystem physiology. Using these theories, local mass balance approaches, and detailed measurements of water and carbon flux and driving variables in the soil, plants, and the atmosphere, Oren has been attempting to predict the likely responses of forest ecosystems, from the equator to the arctic circle, to environmental change and management.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Nicholas Distinguished Professor of Earth Systems Science · 2009 - Present Environmental Sciences and Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment
Professor in Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences · 2021 - Present Earth and Climate Sciences, Nicholas School of the Environment

Education, Training & Certifications

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