Dr Sabine Tausz-Posch MSc, PhD

Dr Sabine Tausz-Posch

School of Biosciences
Lecturer – Plant Responses to Environmental Change

Contact details

School of Biosciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Sabine's research focuses on plant responses to a changing climate. Working predominantly with wheat, she applies physiological, biochemical and molecular tools to understand the mechanisms underpinning decreased grain quality in response to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Her research enhances understanding how to have nutritious grains in future climates.


  • 2003 MSc, University of Graz, Austria
  • 2008 PhD in Plant Ecophysiology, University of Graz, Austria


Sabine completed her PhD in plant ecophysiology at the University of Graz, Austria. She then went on to join the Australian Grains Free Air CO2 Enrichment (AGFACE) project at the University of Melbourne, Australia, as a Research Fellow investigating the effects of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide on wheat production systems. Following her fellowship, she was appointed as the William Farrer Lecturer in Agronomy at the University of Melbourne continuing her research on wheat. In 2017 she joined the School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham.


  • BIO237 Plant Sciences: From Cells to the Environment (module organiser)
  • BIO171 Ecological Concepts and Plant Sciences 

Postgraduate supervision

Having only recently joined the University of Birmingham, Sabine is currently building her lab. If you are interested in working on plant physiological and biochemical questions in relation to future CO2, please drop Sabine an email. 


Atmospheric carbon dioxide is rising at unprecedented rates. Aside from driving climate change, the increase in carbon dioxide alone affects all plant systems. As the direct substrate for photosynthesis, increased carbon dioxide stimulates short-term carbon fixation in C3 plants with direct effects on plant growth.

Wheat, for example, responds to rising carbon dioxide with increased biomass production and yield through the so-called ‘CO2 fertilisation effect’. At the same time minerals such as nitrogen are reduced translating directly to lower protein in vegetative tissues and grains, adversely affecting the nutritional and economic value of grains.

As one of the top three grain crops worldwide, wheat provides approximately one-fifth of the total calories and protein consumed globally.  Decreased nutritional quality of grains would affect developing nations most severely as many follow a plant-based diet. Decreased grain chemical composition also affects bread making quality traits.

Sabine’s research is focused on improving the mechanistic understanding of how to maintain the nutritional quality of grains in a future high CO2 world. She uses physiological, biochemical and molecular tools to better understand N uptake and N-translocation mechanisms from the canopy to the grain, thereby identifying traits that can be used in crop improvement programmes.

This research will enhance understanding of how to ensure highly nutritious food production systems in a future climate. 

Research identifiers:

Other activities

  • Member of the Nutrient Use Efficiency Expert Working Group of the Wheat Initiative
  • Member of the Australian Society of Agronomy 


Bahrami H, De Kok LJ, Armstrong R, Fitzgerald GJ, Bourgault M, Henty S, Tausz M, Tausz-Posch S (2017) The proportion of nitrate in leaf nitrogen, but not changes in root growth, are associated with decreased grain protein in wheat under elevated [CO2], Journal of Plant Physiology, 216, 44-51

Tausz M, Norton RM, TauszPosch S, Löw M, Seneweera S, O'Leary G, Armstrong R, Fitzgerald GJ (2017) Can additional N fertiliser ameliorate the elevated CO2‐induced depression in grain and tissue N concentrations of wheat on a high soil N background?, Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science

Bourgault M, Brand J, Tausz-Posch S, Armstrong R, O’Leary G, Fitzgerald G.J., Tausz M (2017) Yield, growth and grain nitrogen response to elevated CO2 in six lentil (Lens culinaris) cultivars grown under Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) in a semiarid environment, European Journal of Agronomy, 87, 50-58

Tausz M, Bilela S, Bahrami H, Armstrong R, Fitzgerald GJ, O’Leary G, Simon J, Tausz-Posch S, Rennenberg H (2017) Nitrogen nutrition and aspects of root growth and function of two wheat cultivars under elevated [CO2], Environmental and Experimental Botany, 140, 1-7

Houshmandfar A, Fitzgerald GJ, Macabuhay AA, Armstrong R, Tausz-Posch S, Löw M, Tausz M (2016) „Trade-offs between water-use related traits, yield components and mineral nutrition of wheat under Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) in a semi-arid environment“ European Journal of Agronomy, 76, 66-74

Fitzgerald GJ, Tausz M, O’Leary G, Mollah MR, Tausz-Posch S, Seneweera S, Mock I, Löw M, Partington D, McNeil D, Norton RM (2016) “Elevated [CO2] has potential to dramatically increase wheat yields in low rainfall environments and can buffer against heat waves“ Global Change Biology, 22, 2269-2284

Buchner P, Tausz M, Ford R, Leo A, Fitzgeral GJ, Hawkesford MJ, Tausz-Posch S (2015) „Expression patterns of C- and N-metabolism related genes in wheat are changed during senescence under elevated CO2 in dry-land agriculture“ Plant Science, 236, 239-249

Tausz-Posch S, Dempsey R, Seneweera S, Norton R, Fitzgerald G, Tausz M (2015) “Does a freely tillering wheat cultivar benefit more from elevated CO2 than a restricted tillering cultivar in a water-limited environment?”,  European Journal of Agronomy, 64, 21-28

Thilakarathne CL, Tausz-Posch S, Cane K, Norton R, Fitzgerald G, Tausz M, Seneweera S (2015) “Intraspecific variation in leaf growth of wheat (Triticum aestivum L) under Australian Grains Free Air CO2 Enrichment (AGFACE): Is it regulated through carbon and/or nitrogen supply?” Functional Plant Biology, 42, 299-308

Lin YS, Medlyn B, Duursma R, Prentice I, Wang H, Baig S, Eamus D, Resco de Dios V, Mitchell P, Ellsworth E, Op de Beeck M, Wallin G, Uddling J, Tarvainen L, Linderson ML, Cernusak L, Nippert J, Ocheltree T, Tissue D, Martin-StPaul N, Rogers A, Warren J, De Angelis P, Hikosaka K, Han Q, Onoda Y, Gimeno T, Barton C, Bennie J, Bonal D, Bosc A, Löw M, Macinins-Ng C, Rey A, Rowland L, Setterfield S, Tausz-Posch S, Zaragoza-Castells J, Broadmeadow M, Drake J, Freeman M, Ghannoum O, Hutley L, Kelly J, Kikuzawa K, Kolari K, Koyama K, Limousin JM, Meir P,  Costa A, Mikkelsen T, Salinas N, Sun W, Wingate L (2015) “Optimal stomatal behaviour around the world: synthesis of a global stomatal conductance database.“ Nature Climate Change, 5, 459-464

Tausz-Posch S, Armstrong R, Tausz M (2014). Nutrient use and nutrient use efficiency of crops in a high CO2 atmosphere. In: Nutrient Use Efficiency in Plants. Eds. M. J. Hawkesford, S. Kopriva and L. J. De Kok, Springer International Publishing. 10: 229-252.

Tausz-Posch S, Norton RM, Seneweera S, Fitzgerald G, Tausz M (2013) ‘Will intra-specific differences in transpiration efficiency in wheat be maintained in a high CO2 world? – A FACE study’, Physiologia Plantarum, 148, 232-245

Tausz-Posch S, Borowiak K, Dempsey R, Norton R, Seneweera S, Fitzgerald G, Tausz M. (2013) Photochemical, photosynthetic and antioxidative responses of two contrasting wheat cultivars to combined climate change effects – A FACE study. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 88, 81-92

Tausz M, Tausz-Posch S, Norton R, Fitzgerald G, Nicolas M, Seneweera S. (2013) Understanding crop physiology to select breeding targets and crop management implications under increasing atmospheric CO2. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 88, 71-80

Thilakarathne CL, Tausz-Posch S, Cane K, Norton RM, Tausz M, Seneweera S (2013) “Intra-specific variation in growth response to elevated CO2 in wheat: is it related to changes in specific leaf mass and leaf nitrogen status?‟ Functional Plant Biology 40,185-194

Fitzgerald GJ, Tausz M, Norton R, O’Leary G, Seneweera S, Tausz-Posch S, Mollah M, Luck J, Hollaway GJ  (2013) Food Security in Australia: Challenges and Prospects for the Future. Springer Science+Business Media. 353-365

Tausz-Posch S, Seneweera S, Norton RM, Fitzgerald GJ, Tausz M (2012) Can a wheat cultivar with high transpiration efficiency maintain its yield advantage over a near-isogenic cultivar under elevated CO2? Field Crops Research 133, 160-166

Merchant A, Arndt SK, Rowell DM, Posch S, Callister A, Tausz M, Adams MA (2010) Seasonal changes in carbohydrates, cyclitols, and water relations of 3 field grown Eucalyptus species from contrasting taxonomy on a common site. Annals of Forest Science 67, 104ff

Posch S, Bennett LT (2009) Photosynthesis, photochemistry and antioxidative defence in response to two drought severities and with re-watering in Allocasuarina luehmannii. Plant Biology 11, 83-93

Posch S, Warren CR, Adams MA, Guttenberger H (2008) Photoprotective carotenoids and antioxidants are more affected by canopy position than by nitrogen supply in 21-year-old Pinus radiata. Functional Plant Biology 35, 470-482

Posch S, Warren CR, Kruse J, Guttenberger H, Adams MA (2008) Nitrogen allocation and the fate of absorbed light in 21-year-old Pinus radiata. Tree Physiology 28:375-384

Tausz M, Landmesser H, Posch S, Monschein S, Grill D, Wienhaus O (2007) Multivariate patterns of antioxidative and photoprotective defence compounds in spruce needles at two central European forest sites of different elevation. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 128:75-82

Tausz M, Löffler S, Posch S, Monschein S, Grill D, Kätzel R (2005) Do photoprotective pigments and antioxidants in needles of Pinus sylvestris relate to high N or water availability at field plots in a dry year? Phyton Annales Rei Botanicae 45:107-116

Grulke NE, Johnson R, Esperanza A, Jones D, Nguyen T, Posch S, Tausz M (2003) Canopy transpiration of Jeffrey pine in mesic and xeric microsites: O3 uptake and injury response. Trees – Structure and Function 17:292-298

Tausz M, Herbinger K, Posch S, Grulke NE (2002) Antioxidant status of Pinus jeffreyi needles from mesic and xeric microsites in early and late summer. Phyton Annales Rei Botanicae 42:201-207