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César Terrer

César Terrer
  • Title Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Email
  • Faculties Climate, Environment & Life Science
  • Address 48-329
  • Research Website
  • Assistant Lumidi Campbell /


  • Ph.D. Imperial College London (UK), Climate Change Ecosystem Ecology | 2017
  • M.S. University of Murcia (Spain), Ecology, Biodiversity Conservation in Mediterranean environments | 2012
  • B.S. University of Murcia (Spain), Environmental Science | 2009


  • Postdoctoral Associate,  Stanford University | 2017-2021
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona | 2017-2019
  • Lawrence Fellow, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | 2019-2021

Research Interests

Our group investigates some of the grand challenges in Earth system science and climate-change research. We employ a holistic view of Earth’s dynamics at a global scale, with a focus on plant-soil interactions. We synthesize field observations and satellite data to pursue two main coupled goals:

  • Carbon ecology. Our goal is to improve our ecological understanding of the dynamics modulating the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to store carbon in a climate-change context (CO2 rising, warming, nitrogen deposition, changes in water regimes). The final goal is to make climate models more realistic by focusing on model uncertainties.
  • Solutions. Our goal is to identify and implement data-driven strategies to maximize carbon uptake in terrestrial ecosystems to slow global warming.

Selected Publications

  1. H. Ma, L. Mo, T. W. Crowther, D. S. Maynard, J. van den Hoogen, B. D. Stocker, C. Terrer, C. M. Zohner, “The global distribution and environmental drivers of aboveground versus belowground plant biomass.” Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1–13 (2021).
  2. C. Terrer, “Balancing carbon storage under elevated CO2.”Nature (2021).
  3. C. Terrer, R. P. Phillips, et. al. “A trade-off between plant and soil carbon storage under elevated CO2.” Nature. 591, 599–603 (2021).
  4. A. F. A. Pellegrini, T. Refsland, C. Averill, C. Terrer, et. al., “Decadal changes in fire frequencies shift tree communities and functional traits.” Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1–9 (2021).
  5. S. M. Bell, C. Terrer, et. al. “Soil organic carbon accumulation rates on Mediterranean abandoned agricultural lands.” Science of The Total Environment, 143535 (2020).
  6. X. Huang, C. Terrer,, “New soil carbon sequestration with nitrogen enrichment: a meta-analysis.” Plant Soil (2020).
  7. J. Chen, K. J. van Groenigen, B. A. Hungate, C. Terrer, et. al. , “Long-term nitrogen loading alleviates phosphorus limitation in terrestrial ecosystems.” Global Change Biology (2020).
  8. S. Bell, C. Barriocanal, C. Terrer, A. Rosell-Melé, “Management opportunities for soil carbon sequestration following agricultural land abandonment.” Environmental Science & Policy. 108, 104–111 (2020).
  9. E. Du, C. Terrer, et. al., “Global patterns of terrestrial nitrogen and phosphorus limitation.” Nature Geoscience, 1–6 (2020).
  10. C. Terrer et al. Nitrogen and phosphorus constrain the CO2 fertilization of global plant biomass. Nature Climate change. 9, 684–689 (2019).
  11. C. Terrer, S. Vicca, B. D. Stocker, B. A. Hungate, R. P. Phillips, P. B. Reich, A. C. Finzi, I. C. Prentice, Ecosystem responses to elevated CO2 governed by plant–soil interactions and the cost of nitrogen acquisition. New Phytologist. 217, 507–522 (2018).
  12. C. Terrer, S. Vicca, B. A. Hungate, R. P. Phillips, I. C. Prentice, Mycorrhizal association as a primary control of the CO2 fertilization effect. Science. 353, 72–74 (2016).