Paleo-plant physiology Laboratory

In the paleo-plant physiological laboratory we investigate how oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may have influenced the physiology of past plants and insects, their uptake of nutrient salts and their carbon-isotope composition.

Paleo-plant physiology laboratory provides researchers and students opportunity to experiment with plant physiology in microcosms under controlled conditions (temperature, humidity, atmospheric gas composition (O2, CO2), soils and nutrients).

Current research explores how low atmospheric oxygen and temperature impacted roots and growth of clubmoss (an old family of vascular plants that evolved 380 million years ago in the early Devonian). Previous experiments include liverworts (non-vascular land plants, evolved in the Ordovician) and ferns (vascular plants, evolved in middle Devonian, ~360 Ma). Soil modeling at the global scale is used to explore how atmospheric gas composition may have co-evolved with plants.

The paleo-plant physiology lab is part of the Sediment & Aqueous Geochemistry, Geomicrobiology laboratory cluster.


The lab is temperature controlled with plant growth lamps, where microcosm chambers have gas flow and composition controlled by gas mixers from Alicat Scientific. The diffusion resistant microcosms and tubing permit oxygen concentrations as low as 0.25 (%p O2). De facto O2 concentration are measured by laser based FirestingO2 sensor from PyroScience GmbH. CO2 is measured by CM-0024 from CO2 Meter Inc.



Responsible researcher

Christian J. Bjerrum
Professor MSO

Responsible laboratory assistant

Mette Müller Jensen
Laboratory technician


Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management
Øster Voldgade 10
1350 Copenhagen K