Doctor Markus Nolf

Markus NolfDr Markus Nolf joined the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Plants, Animals and Interactions theme in May 2015. He is currently working with Dr Brendan Choat on an ARC Future Fellowship project titled "Limits to the resilience of Australian forests and woodlands to drought", which centres on mapping the vulnerability of trees to drought across Australian biomes.

Dr Nolf obtained his PhD at the Institute of Botany, University of Innsbruck, in 2015 under the supervision of Prof. Stefan Mayr. His PhD research in plant hydraulics was centred on the coordination of hydraulic parameters in trees, shrubs, and herbaceous species. Studies were based on classical hydraulic measurements as well as non-destructive methods, in the laboratory and under field conditions ranging from tropical lowland rainforest to the alpine timberline.

Methods Flow Centrifuge - Acoustic

Areas of Research/Teaching Expertise

Daintree Rainforest

Dr Nolf's main research interests revolve around plant water relations in terrestrial plants, with a focus on the water transport system. Specific interests include the vulnerability and adaptation of plants to drought, the trade-off between hydraulic efficiency and safety, and recovery of hydraulic function after periods of stress. He has investigated temporal and spatial patterns of embolism formation during drought and freezing using classical destructive as well as novel, non-invasive techniques such as acoustic emission analysis and electrical resistivity tomography.

Grants and Awards

  • 2012–2015 Drought-induced embolism in trees, shrubs and herbaceous species studied with a portable emission analysis system (DOC-fellowship), €90,000.
    Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), Austria
  • 2014 Research Exchange Program, ca. $7,000.
    Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, University of Western Sydney, Australia
  • 2012 Hydraulic vulnerability of rainforest trees (Post-graduate Student Research Grant), $6,000.
    Daintree Rainforest Observatory (DRO), James Cook University, Queensland, Australia
  • 2009 Merit Grant, €1,500. University of Innsbruck, Austria

Selected Publications


Charrier G, Nolf M, Leitinger G, Charra-Vaskou K, Losso A, Tappeiner U, Améglio T, Mayr S, (2017) 'Monitoring of freezing dynamics in trees: A simple phase shift causes complexity', Plant Physiology, vol.173, no.4, pp 2196-2207

Nolf M, Lopez R, Peters JMR, Flavel RJ, Koloadin LS, Young IM, Choat B, (2017) 'Visualization of xylem embolism by X-ray microtomography: a direct test against hydraulic measurements', New Phytologist, vol.214, no.2, pp 890-898

Losso A, Nardini A, Nolf M, Mayr S, (2016) 'Elevational trends in hydraulic efficiency and safety of Pinus cembra roots', Oecologia, vol.180, no.4, pp 1091-1102

Nolf M, Rosani A, Ganthaler A, Beikircher B, Mayr S, (2016) 'Herb hydraulics: Inter-and intraspecific variation in three ranunculus species', Plant Physiology, vol.170, no.4, pp 2085-2094

Nolf M, Beikircher B, Rosner S, Nolf A, Mayr S, (2015) 'Xylem cavitation resistance can be estimated based on time-dependent rate of acoustic emissions', New Phytologist, vol.208, no.2, pp 625-632

Nolf M, Creek D, Duursma R, Holtum J, Mayr S, Choat B, (2015) 'Stem and leaf hydraulic properties are finely coordinated in three tropical rain forest tree species', Plant Cell and Environment, vol.38, no.12, pp 2652-2661

Nolf M, Pagitz K, Mayr S, (2014) 'Physiological acclimation to drought stress in Solidago canadensis', Physiologia Plantarum, vol.150, pp 529-539