Christian von Sperber

Christian von Sperber​Biogeochemistry

Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography

Office: Burnside Hall 615A
Tel.: (514) 398-XXXX
Fax.: (514) 398-7437
Personal Website (coming soon)
E-mail: chris.vonsperber [at]

Academic and professional background

  • Senior Scientist, Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Bonn, Germany (2016 - present)
  • Postdoc, Department of Biology, Stanford University, USA (2014 - 2016)
  • PhD, Department of Environmental Science, ETH Zurich, Switzerland (2014)

Research interests

My research focuses on the biogeochemistry of phosphorus and nitrogen in terrestrial ecosystems, with a special emphasis on soils. I am particularly interested in understanding how biogeochemical processes in soils change along environmental gradients. For this purpose, I often use stable isotopes as a tool to characterize and trace such processes, both, in controlled laboratory settings and in the ostensible chaos of environmental systems.

Current projects

  • The Biogeochemistry of Phosphorus in Subsoils of Temperate Forest Ecosystems
  • The Effect of Land-Use Change on Soil Nutrient Pools in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Biogeochemical Cycling of Phosphorus and Nitrogen along Riparian Buffer Zones

Some recent publications

von Sperber, C., Stallforth, R., Du Preez, C., Amelung, W. (2017). Changes in soil phosphorus pools during prolonged arable cropping in semiarid grasslands. Eur J Soil Sci. doi:10.1111/ejss.12433

von Sperber, C., Chadwick, O.A., Casciotti, K.L., Peay, K.G., Francis, C.A., Kim, A.E., Vitousek, P.M. (2017). Controls of nitrogen cycling evaluated along a well-characterized climate gradient. Ecology 98, 1117–1129.

von Sperber, C., Lewandowski, H., Tamburini, F., Bernasconi, S.M., Amelung, W., Frossard, E. (2017). Kinetics of enzyme-catalysed oxygen isotope exchange between phosphate and water revealed by Raman spectroscopy. J. Raman Spectrosc. 48, 368–373.