Claire Damesin

Position: Professor

Team: Plant Ecophysiology

Contact details:
Laboratoire Écologie, Systématique, Évolution
Bât. 362, rue du Doyen André Guinier
91405 Orsay Cedex

Tel: +33 (0)1 69 15 56 79

Fax: +33 (0)1 69 15 72 38

Email: claire.damesin (at)

Laboratoire Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution

Research interests

As a plant ecophysiologist, I’m particularly interested in 1. tree carbon functioning especially in the woody parts (ring growth, reserve dynamic, stem respiration and stem photosynthesis, tree-soil carbon allocation) 2. stable carbon isotope composition (13C/12C) in leaves and rings and its drivers, 3. tree responses to drought and climate variations (including sometimes tree decline). My approach is based on experimental studies both in the field on mature forest trees and on smaller potted plants.

Since 2013, I’ve been carrying out art-science projects about intimacy with trees in collaboration with artists. I also currently develop an interdisciplinary approach of the human-nature relationship at the individual level by providing links between ecology, art, anthropology and, philosophy.

Key words: tree ecophysiology, forest tree, carbon, growth, reserve, stem photosynthesis, 13C, rings, drought, functional adaptation, art-science, human-nature relationship.

Laboratoire Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution


Main teaching in graduate program (master BEE, Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution)
M1 : The carbon cycle at the global and ecosystem levels, methodology, variations
M2 : Current research in functional ecology in relation to global change

M1 : Field training at the biological station of Paimpont (Brittany, ecology)
M2 : Field training at the alpine station of Lautaret (Alps, ecophysiology)

News in 2018-2019
Reflexive session about « how to choose our own research project ? » (Master 2)
Development of a practical training about « Creativity » for the university staff.
Development of an interdisciplinary teaching on the human-nature relation

Current teaching management :
Co-manager of EVEF sector (functional and evolutionary ecology) of master BEE (Biodiversity, ecology and evolution) and of BIFE program (biodiversiy and ecosystem functioning)
Manager of teaching unit “Adaptations to change”, ADAC (Master 2 BEE, since 2005)

Review of the whole topic of teaching through years :
Teaching at all the levels (undergraduate, graduate programs and specific programs for future high school teachers (L1, L2, L3, M1, M2, Capes et Agrégation), mainly in the Ecology programs (L3 BOE : Biology of organisms and Ecology – Life and earth sciences for future teachers —Master EBE : Ecology, Biodiversity and Evolution)

Topics of practical teaching: botanic, plant anatomy, soil-vegetation relationship, pedelogy, soil fauna, climatology, hydrology, water physics and chemistry, numerous field trainings (from half a day to one week, sometimes in collaboration with geologists)

Topic of undergraduate teaching (lectures) :
L1 (first year) : The carbon cycle and its disturbances (for students in Geology)
L2 (second year) : Drivers of the plant species and community distribution (water, nitrogen and calcium effects). Indicator plants (climate, pollution). Plant responses to water and light constraints.
L3 (third year) : General Ecology : History of Ecology. Community structure. Ecosystem functioning (energy and matter fluxes, trophic relationships, producers, decomposers, comparisons of ecosystems). Dynamic of vegetation.
Pluridisciplinary Licence : General Ecology for future primary schoolteachers.

Main management in the recent past
Co-manager of master BEE (Biodiversity, ecology and evolution), based on different institutions (UPSUD, UPMC, AgroParisTech, ENS, Museum) (2005-2014)
Manager of BFI program (biodiversiy and ecosystem functioning), master BEE (2005-2015)

Laboratoire Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution

Career path

2018-2019 : Development of a new topic (interdisciplinary approach of ecology)
2005-now : Professor at University Paris Sud (section 67), Orsay
2004 : Habilitation to supervise research works (HDR, Paris Sud)
2003-2005 : Researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)
1997-2005 : Lecturer at Ecology, Systematics and Evolution (University Paris Sud, Orsay)
1996-1997 : Teaching assistant at University Paris Sud, Orsay
1993-1996 : ph D thesis at Center of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology in Montpellier
1992 : Master of General Ecology (DEA), University Paris Sud
1991 : French national « agrégation » in Life and Earth sciences
1988 : Admission into Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS Lyon)

Laboratoire Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution


Lallemand F, Figura T, Damesin C, Fresneau C,  Griveau C, Fontaine N, Zeller B, Selosse M-A (2018) Mixotrophic orchids do not use photosynthates for perennial underground organs. New Phytologist

Daux V, Michelot‐Antalik A, Lavergne A, Pierre M, Stievenard M, Bréda N, Damesin C (2018)
Comparisons of the performance of d13C and d18O of F. sylvatica, P. sylvestris and Q. petraea in the record of past climate variations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. 123. doi 10.1002/2017JG004203

Delaporte A, Zanella A, Bugeat M, Damesin C, Bazot S (2017). Structural and functional differences in the belowground compartment of healthy and declining beech trees. Applied Soil Ecology,10.1016/j.apsoil.2017.05.004

Bazot S., Fresneau C, Damesin C, Barthes L (2016) Contribution of previous year’s leaf N and soil N uptake to current year’s leaf growth in sessile oak.Biogeosciences 13:3475-3484

Lempereur M, Martin-StPaul N, Damesin C, Joffre R, Ourvical J-M, Rocheteau A, Rambal S (2015) Growth duration is a better predictor of stem increment than carbon supply in a Mediterranean oak forest: implications for assessing forest productivity under climate change. New Phytologist 207(3) : 579-590

Delaporte A,Bazot S,Damesin C (2015) Reduced stem growth, but no reserve depletion or hydraulic impairment in beech suffering from long-term decline. Trees structure and function, 1: 265-279 (DOI 10.1007/s00468-015-1299-8)

Roy M, Gonneau C, Rocheteau A, Berveiller D, Thomas J-C, Damesin C, Selosse M-A (2013) Why do mixotrophic plants stay green? A comparison between green and achlorophyllous orchid individuals in situ. Ecological Monograph,83(1):95–117

Maunoury-Danger F, Chemidlin Prevost Boure N, Ngao J, Berveiller D, Brechet C, Dufrene C, Epron D, Lata J-C, Longdonz B, Lelarge-Trouverie C, Pontailler J-Y, Soudani K, Damesin C (2013) Carbon isotopic signature of CO2 emitted by plant compartments and soil in two temperate deciduous forests. Annals of Forest Science,70(2):173-183

Michelot A, Simard S, Rathgeber C, Dufrêne E, Damesin C (2012) Comparing the intra-annual wood formation of three European species (Fagus sylvatica, Quercus petraea and Pinus sylvestris) as related to leaf phenology and non-structural carbohydrate dynamics.Tree physiology,32(8):1033-1045

Michelot A, Bréda N, Damesin C, Dufrêne E (2012) Differing growth responses to climatic variations and soil water deficits of Fagus sylvatica, Quercus petraea and Pinus sylvestris in a temperate forest.Forest Ecology and Management, 265:161-171

Dannoura M, Maillard P, Fresneau C, Plain C, Berveiller D, Gerant D, Chipeaux C, Bosc A, Ngao J, Damesin C, Loustau D,  Epron D (2011) In situ assessment of the velocity of carbon transfer by tracing 13C in trunk CO2 efflux after pulse labelling: variations among tree species and seasons.New Phytologist,190:181-192

Michelot A, Eglin T, E Dufrêne E, Lelarge-Trouverie C, Damesin C (2011) Comparison of seasonal variations in water-use efficiency calculated from the carbon isotope composition of tree rings and flux data in a temperate forest. Plant Cell and Environment,34:230-244

Chemidlin Prévost-Bouré N, Maron P-A, Ranjard L, Nowak V, Dufrêne E, Damesin C, Soudani K, Lata J-C (2011). Seasonal dynamics of bacterial community in forest soils under different quantities of leaf litter amounts: towards linking microbial community and soil functioning. Applied Soil Ecology 47 :14-23

Chemidlin Prevost-Bouré N, Maron P-A, Ranjard L, Nowak V, Dufrêne E, Damesin C, Soudani K, Lata J-C (2011) Seasonal dynamic of the bacterial community in forest soils under different quantities of leaf litter. Applied Soil Ecology,47:14-23

Maunoury-Danger F, Fresneau C, Eglin T, Berveiller D, François C, Lelarge-Trouverie C, Damesin C (2010) Impact of carbohydrate supply on stem growth, wood and respired CO2δ13C: assessment by experimental girdling. Tree Physiology 30: 818-830

Eglin T, François C, Michelot A, Delpierre N, Damesin C (2010) Linking intra-seasonal variations in climate and tree-ring δ13C: a functional modelling approach. Ecological Modelling 221: 1779-1797

Chemidlin-Prévost-Bouré N, Soudani K, Damesin C, Berveiller D, Lata J-C and Dufrêne E (2010) Increase in aboveground freshlitter quantity over-stimulates soil respiration in a temperate deciduous forest. Applied soil ecology 46:26-34

Berveiller D, Fresneau C, Damesin C (2010) Effect of soil nitrogen supply on carbon assimilation by tree stems.Annals of Forest Science 67: 609

Mougin E, Hiernaux P, Kergoat L, Grippa M , de Rosnay P, Timouk F, Le Dantec V , Demarez V , et al. dont Damesin C (2009)The AMMA-CATCH Gourma observatory site in Mali: Relating climatic variations to changes in vegetation, surface hydrology, fluxes and natural resources. Journal of hydrology 375  : 14-33.

Maunoury-Danger F, Bathellier C, Laurette J, Fresneau C, Ghashghaie J, Damesin C, Tcherkez G (2009) Is there any 12C/13C fractionation during starch remobilisation and sucrose export in potato tubers? Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 23:2527-2533

Eglin T, Fresneau C, Lelarge-Trouverie C, François C, Damesin C (2009) Leaf and twig C-13 during growth in erlation to biochemical composition and respired CO2.Tree Physiology 29 (6) :777-788

Chemidlin Prévost-Bouré N, Ngao J, Berveiller D, Bonal D, Damesin C, Dufrêne E, Lata J-C, Le Dantec V, Longdoz B, Ponton S, Soudani K and Epron D (2009) Root exclusion through trenching does not affect the isotopic composition of soil CO2 efflux. Plant and Soil 319 : 1-13.

Berveiller D,Damesin C (2008) Carbon assimilation by tree stems: potential involvement of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase.Trees – Structure and Function 22:149-157

Eglin T, Maunoury-Danger F, Fresneau C, Lelarge C, Pollet B, Lapierre C, François C, Damesin C (2008)-Biochemical composition is not the main factor influencing variability in carbon isotope composition of tree rings. Tree Physiology 28:1619-1628

Berveiller D, Vidal J, Degrouard J, Ambard-Bretteville F, Pierre JN, Jaillard D, Damesin C (2007)Tree stem phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC): lack of biochemical and localization evidence for a C4-like photosynthesis system. New Phytologist 176:775-781

Berveiller D, Kierzkowski D, Damesin C (2007) Interspecific variability of stem photosynthesis among tree species. Tree Physiology, 27: 53-61

Maunoury F, Berveiller D, Lelarge C, Pontailler JY, Vanbostal L, Damesin C (2007) Seasonal, daily, and diurnal variations in 13C of CO2 respired by tree trunks in a deciduous oak forest. Oecologia, 151: 268-279

Nogués S, Damesin C, Tcherkez G, Maunoury F, Cornic G & Ghashghaie J (2006) 13C/12C isotope labelling to study leaf carbon respiration and allocation in twigs of field grown beech trees.Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry20:219-226

Julou T, Burghardt B, Gebauer G, Berveiller D, Damesin C, Selosse M-A (2005) Evolution of mixotrophy in orchids: insight from a comparative study of green and achlorophyllous Cephalanthera damasonium.  New Phytologist. 166 (2): 639-653; DOI 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2005.01364.x

Damesin C, Barbaroux C, Berveiller D,Lelarge C, Chaves M,  Maguas C, Maia R, Pontailler J-Y(2005) The carbon isotope composition of CO2 respired by trunks: comparison of four sampling methods. Rapid Communication in Mass Spectroscopy 19: 369-374

Damesin C (2003)Respiration and photosynthesis characteristics of current year stems of Fagus sylvatica: from the seasonal pattern to an annual balance. New Phytologist 158: 465-475

Damesin C, Lelarge C (2003) Carbon isotope composition of current-year shoots from Fagus sylvatica in relation to growth, respiration and use of reserves. Plant, Cell and Environment 26: 207-219

Ceschia E, Damesin C, Lebaube S, Pontailler J-Y, Dufrêne E (2002) Spatial and seasonal variations in stem respiration of beech trees (Fagus sylvatica). Annals of Forest Science 59: 801-812

Damesin C, Ceschia E, Le Goff N, Ottorini J-M, Dufrêne E (2002) Stem and branch respiration of beech:  from tree measurements to estimations at the stand level. New Phytologist 153: 159-172

Granier A, Ceschia E, Damesin C, Dufrêne E, Epron D, Gross P, Lebaube S, Le Dantec V, Le Goff N, Lemoine D, Lucot E, Ottorini JM, Pontailler JY, Saugier B (2000) Carbon balance of a young beech forest over a two-year experiment. Functional Ecology 14: 312-325

Infante JM, Damesin C, Rambal S, Fernandez-Alès R (1999) Modelling leaf gas exchange in oak trees (Quercus ilex L.): time integration. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 95: 203-223

Teixeira Filho J, Damesin C, Rambal S, Joffre R (1998) Retrieving leaf conductances from sap flows in a mixed Mediterranean woodland: a scaling exercise. Annals of Forest Science 55: 173-190

Damesin C, Rambal S, Joffre R (1998) Seasonal changes in leaf 13C in two co-occurring Mediterranean oaks: relations to leaf growth and drought progression. Functional Ecology 12: 778-785

Damesin C, Rambal S, Joffre R (1998) Cooccurrence of trees with different leaf habit: a functional approach on Mediterranean oaks. Acta Oecologica 19: 195-204

Damesin C, Rambal S, Joffre R (1997) Between tree variations in leaf 13C of Quercus pubescens and Q. ilex among habitats with different water availability. Oecologia 111: 26-35

Rambal S, Damesin C, Joffre R, Methy M, Lo Seen D (1996) Optimization of carbon gain in canopies of Mediterranean evergreen oaks. Annals of Forest Science 53: 547-560

Methy M, Damesin C, Rambal S (1996) Drought and photosystem II activity in two Mediterranean oaks. Annals of Forest Science 53: 255-262

Damesin C, Galera C, Rambal S, Joffre R (1996) Effects of elevated carbon dioxide on leaf gas exchange and growth of cork oak (Quercus suber L.) seedlings. Annals of Forest Science 53: 461-467

Damesin C, Rambal S (1995) Field study of leaf photosynthetic performance by a Mediterranean deciduous oak tree (Quercus pubescens) during a severe summer drought. New Phytologist 131: 159-167