Geosphären-Biosphären Wechselwirkungen


Main research interests:

  • A Plant Ecologist with main interests in Ecophysiology, Community Ecology and Ecosystem processes (Water and CO2). My research focus includes the savanna, agro-ecosystems and forests.


GUZ 6R22



Research projects

TERRA initiative: A joint project on the subject of Africa at the Universities of Hohenheim and Tübingen  'Belowground traits of Kenyan grasslands: Establishing and maintaining functional diversity'

Research projects at JOOUST

  • Sept. 2023-July 2024. A multi-dimensional assessment tool for risk analysis and mitigation in rural space (81302020) GIZ

  • 2023-2027. The Intra-Africa Academic Mobility scheme " Mobility 4 Agricultural International Networks Supporting Thematic Resilience and Enhancing Adaptation and Mitigation (MAINSTREAM) funded by EU HORIZON. 

  • 2023-2025.  ERASMUS (EU): Cooperation for Holistic Agriculture Innovation Nests (CHAIN) in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • 2022 –2025 Research Partner. Future Rural Africa: Future-Making and Social-Ecological Transformation. P05-Infrastructural transformation and Biodiversity. DFG-funded.

  • 2021-2031 Strengthening Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology’s Capacity in Natural Resource Management, Food Security and Health. Institutional University Corporation (IUC), Vlir-Uos, Belgium.

  •  2021-2024 -Program Advisor: Capacity Development of Applied Epidemiologists in Eastern Africa Region (CDAE) (CSA2020E-3139). A Project for capacity development for disease outbreak and epidemic response in sub-Saharan Africa funded under the EU-Horizon 2020. EDCTP Grant.

  • 2020-2024. Maintenance Mechanism of lower subtropical forest ecosystem service function in China and forests under different Management regimes and impacts of livelihoods in Kenya. International Corporation & Exchange funded by NSFC- National Natural Research Foundation of China. PR of China. Grant number 31961143023.

  • 2018. RESEARCH, INNOVATION AND INCUBATION COMPLEX (RIIC) DEVELOPMENT - Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology. INFRASTRUCTURE GRANT: 2017/2018 FY NRF. National Research Fund, Kenya.

  • 2015-2018: Integrated Climate Protection and Resource Conservation in the Lambwe Valley, Kenya. World Vision – Frankfurt, Germany PI-O4/LRO/FY15.  World Vision-Nairobi.

  • 2016-2017. Acacias of the Arava: Mechanisms of tree adaptation in the Negev desert, Israel. A research cooperation with the Arava Research Institute, Israel. Bayrische Forschungsalianz (BayIntAnt-support for international cooperation).

  • 2011-October -2016-October: Interactive Influence of Land-use and Rainfall on The Structure and Function of the Herbaceous Layer Community of a Moist Tropical Savanna: Ruma, Kenya.  Research grant: British Ecological Society. Ref: 1430/4399. 

  • 2011-2014: Controls on ecosystem water use and carbon gain at Mt. Kilimanjaro – differentiation along climate gradients and with land use from the savanna to the alpine zone. In Kilimanjaro ecosystems under global change: Linking biodiversity, biotic interactions and biogeochemical ecosystem processes. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Research grant: DFG. KILI-WG-2.

  • 2010-2013: Biodiversity, productivity, water and carbon balances of the subtropical forest ecosystems in the Dinghushan Biosphere Forest Reserve in Guangzhou Province, South China. Research grant/fellowship: Grant No. 2009Y2AS5. Chinese Academy of Sciences.

  • 2008-2014: Transpiration and water Use Efficiency In Complex Terrain and Ecological Heterogeneity (TERRECO): Evaluating ecosystem services in relation shifts in processes, biotic interactions and biodiversity in mountainous landscapes. DFG.

  • May-2009- December: Assessing shifts in plant community composition and overall ecosystem structure and function in the emerging climate scenarios. Ruma, Kenya. Research grant: Overseas Bursary and Fellowship, British Ecological Society. -Ref: 1430/1802.

  • 2005 Feb–2008-December: Resource Partitioning and Ecosystem Functioning in a Kenyan Savanna: Ruma National Park-Kenya.  Research grant: International Foundation for Sciences (IFS). -Grant Number D/3930-1


Since 2023
Associate (PD)

 Department for Geosciences, Eberhard Karl’s University Tübingen

Since 2023
Committee member of the International Science Program

Global Ecosystem Restoration and Carbon Neutrality Programme (Global-ERCaN)

Since 2023
Member of the (DFG)-DKN Working Group - “Multi-risk and Societal Resilience in Extreme Events”
Since 2023
Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics, Student Affairs and Research)

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST), Kenya

Since 2023
Chair of the Advisory Board

World Bank-funded Center of Excellence at JOOUST

Since 2023
Local Coordinator


Since 2021
Distinguished scientist at the Nanning Normal University
Since 2020
Chair of the Advisory Board

  USAID- “Boresha Jamii” Program

Professor of Plant Ecology

Department of Biology, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST), Kenya.

Since 2020
Part-time lecturer

Pan African University, Institute of Life and Earth Sciences (Including Health an Agriculture) at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Since 2018
Distinguished scientist at the South China Botanical Garden
Privat Dozent (PD)

 University of Bayreuth

Senior Academic Advisor

 Department of Plant ecology, University of Bayreuth


University of Bayreuth

Academic advisor

University of Bayreuth


Maseno University


University of Bayreuth


University of Nairobi


University of Nairobi

Selected publications

  1. Gu Daxing, Jiashuang Qin, Longkang Ni, Dennis Otieno, Wen He,Yuqing Huang, Ping Zhao, Kechao Huang (2021). Stomatal regulation on transpiration is related with hydraulic conductance in an isohydrodynamic plant. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology Volume 311, 15 December 2021, 108664
  2. Valeska, Dennis Otieno, Christina Bogner 2019. Climbing up the hills:  expansion of agriculture around the Ruma National Park, Kenya. International Journal of Remote Sensing. DOI: 10.1080/01431161.2019.1591647
  3. Winters Gidon, Dennis Otieno, Shabtai Cohen, Christina Bogner, Gideon Ragowloski, Indira Paudel, Tamir Klein (2018). Tree growth and water-use in hyper-arid Acacia occurs during the hottest and driest season. Oecologia
  4. Otieno Dennis, Yuelin Li, Yangxu Ou, John Tenunen, Jing Cheng, Shizhong Liu, Xuli Tang, Deqiang Zhang, Guoyi Zhou. 2014. Stand characteristics and water use at two slope positions in a sub-tropical evergreen forest in southern China. Agric. For. Meteorol. 194:155–166.
  5. Otieno Dennis, Yuelin Li, Yangxu Ou, John Tenunen, Jing Cheng, Shizhong Liu, Xuli Tang, Deqiang Zhang, Guoyi Zhou. 2014. Stand characteristics and water use at two slope positions in a sub-tropical evergreen forest in southern China. Agric. For. Meteorol. 194:155–166.
  6. Otieno Dennis, Steve Lindner, Jahn Muhr and Werner Borken 2012. Sensitivity of peatland grasses to vapor pressure deficit and ground water level fluctuations influences net ecosystem CO2 exchange. Wetlands 32:895–905.
  7. Anke Jentsch, Kreyling J., Elmer M., Gellesch E., Glaser B., Grant G., Hein R., Lara M., Mirzae H., Nadler SE., Nagy L., Otieno D., Pritsch K., Rascher U., Schadler M., Schloter M., Singh B.K., Stadler J., Walter J., Wellstein C., Wollecke J., Beierkuhnlein C., 2011. Climate extremes initiate ecosystem-regulating functions while maintaining productivity. Ecology 99:689–702.


  • KAAD-MSC and PhD Fellowship Award.

  • Chinese Academy of Sciences Fellowship for Young International Scholars