Professor Michael Tausz

Professor Michael Tausz

School of Biosciences
Chair in Forest Ecosystem Science

Contact details

School of Biosciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Michael is a plant physiologist with special interest in responses of trees and crops to global change and environmental stress.


  • 1986 1st Diploma in Chemical Engineering, Technical University of Graz, Austria
  • 1993 MSc in Botany, University of Graz, Austria
  • 1997 PhD in Plant Science, University of Graz, Austria
  • 2001 Habilitation in Plant Anatomy, Physiology and Ecophysiology, University of Graz, Austria


Michael took up the post of Chair in Forest Ecosystem Science at the University of Birmingham, UK, in 2017. He is the academic lead of the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research Free Air CO2 Enrichment (BIFoR-FACE) programme.

Working on biochemical stress markers in plants, Michael was Fulbright Scholar with the USDA Forest Service in Riverside, CA, and a guest professor at the University of La Laguna, Spain. Michael completed his habilitation (formal qualification about equivalent to Senior Lecturer) in 2001 and was appointed Associate Professor at the University of Graz, Austria.

After a sabbatical with the Victorian Forest Science Centre in Australia in 2003, he joined the University of Melbourne’s newly founded School of Forest and Ecosystem Science, where he served as Head of School during 2005. After working part-time for two years after birth of his son in 2006, Michael took up further academic administration roles such as Associate Dean for Research Training and member of the Faculty Executive at the University of Melbourne, Australia. From 2009 to 2017 he was also the University of Melbourne’s academic lead in the Australian Grains Free Air CO2 Enrichment research programme, a joint venture with the Victorian State Government.

Postgraduate supervision

Exciting PhD opportunities exist in relation to the Free Air CO2 Enrichment program of the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research. The following research areas are only some examples; projects may be subject to funding opportunities.

  • Stress and resilience of trees and ecosystems under elevated CO2
  • Carbon and nutrient cycling in mature forests under a future atmosphere
  • The role of mature woodlands in the carbon balance
  • Metabolic markers of tree stress and tolerance
  • Forest nutrition under elevated CO2


Michael is interested in responses of trees and forest ecosystems to climate change, in particular under elevated CO2. With atmospheric CO2 concentrations predicted to rise by another at least 35% in the next 30-35 years, the balance between photosynthetic CO2 assimilation by plants and all other aspects of plant and therefore ecosystem function is changing. Compared to the lifetime of individual trees and turnover times of forest ecosystems, these changes are of an unprecedented pace and likely to put increasing pressure on the ability of trees and forest ecosystems to adjust.

With the Free Air CO2 Enrichment program of the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR-FACE) the University of Birmingham has a world-leading high-tech facility to study a mature oak woodland exposed to a future atmosphere in the open.

Research identifiers:


Selected Publications:

Fitzgerald G. J., Tausz M., O’Leary G., Mollah M. R., Tausz-Posch S., Seneweera S., Mock I., Löw M., Partington D. L., McNeil D., Norton R. M. (2016) Elevated atmospheric [CO2] can dramatically increase wheat yields in semi-arid environments and buffer against heat waves. Global Change Biology 22, 2269–2284.

Wujeska A., Bossinger G., Tausz M. (2013) Responses of foliar antioxidative and photoprotective defence systems of trees to drought: a meta-analysis. Tree Physiology 33, 1018–1029.

Myers S., Zanobetti A., Kloog I., Huybers P., Leakey A., Bloom A., Carlisle E., Dietterich L., Fitzgerald G., Hasegawa T., Holbrook M., Nelson R., Ottman M., Raboy V., Sakai H., Sartor K., Schwartz J., Seneweera S., Tausz M., Usui Y. (2014) Rising CO2 threatens human nutrition. Nature 510, 139-142.

Löw M, Deckmyn G, Op de Beeck M., Blumenröther M. C., Oßwald W., Alexou M., Jehnes S., Haberer K., Rennenberg H., Herbinger K., Häberle K.-H., Bahnweg G., Hanke D., Wieser G., Ceulemans R., Matyssek R.,  Tausz M. (2012) Multivariate analysis of physiological parameters reveals a consistent O3 response pattern in leaves of adult European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.). New Phytologist 196: 162-172.

Tausz M., Grulke N., Wieser G. (2007) Defence and avoidance of ozone under global change. Environmental Pollution 147, 525–531.

Tausz M., Šircelj H., Grill D. (2004) The glutathione system as a stress marker in plant ecophysiology – is a stress-response concept valid? Journal of Experimental Botany 55: 1955-1962.