Johannes Barth

Prof. Johannes Barth, PhD

Chair of Applied Geology & currently head of department 

Schlossgarten 5
D- 91054 Erlangen / Germany

mail:    johannes.barth[at]

Tel.: +49 (0)9131 8522621
Fax: +49 (0)9131 8529294
Raum O 1.106
























  • AquaCliff
    (Third Party Funds Group – Overall project)
    Term: 1 Sep 2018 - 31 Dec 2500
    Funding source: Bayerisches Staatsministerium der Finanzen, für Landesentwicklung und Heimat (StMF) (ab 10/2013)
  • Untersuchungen von Zusammenhängen lokal begrenzter chronischer Nierenerkrankungen und Wasserqualitäten in Sri Lanka
    (Third Party Funds Single)
    Term: 1 Aug 2017 - 31 Jul 2019
    Funding source: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)
  • Stabile Isotopenuntersuchungen zum Prozessverständnis von Fluidverhalten in und um Salzkavernen
    (Third Party Funds Group – Sub project)
    Overall project: ProSalz: Prozessverständnis, Skalierbarkeit und Übertragbarkeit von reaktivem Mehrphasentransport in Salzlagerstätten
    Term: 1 Jul 2017 - 30 Jun 2020
    Funding source: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)
    (Third Party Funds Single)
    Term: 1 Feb 2017 - 31 Jan 2019
    Funding source: Individual Fellowships (IF)
  • Stabile Isotope von gelöstem Sauerstoff (DO) als dynamische Tracer für aerobische Umsätze in Grund- und Oberflächengewässern (IsoDO)
    (Third Party Funds Single)
    Term: 1 Jun 2016 - 31 May 2019
    Funding source: DFG-Einzelförderung / Sachbeihilfe (EIN-SBH)
  • Influences of high reliefs on isotope hydrology and coupled climate proxies
    (Third Party Funds Single)
    Term: 1 Jan 2016 - 1 Jan 2019
    Funding source: DFG-Einzelförderung / Sachbeihilfe (EIN-SBH)
    Climate proxies such as tree rings rely on stable isotope ratios for the reconstruction of palaeoclimatic conditions. Such information then allow the calibration of models that evaluate and predict ongoing and future effects of global climate change. According to model predictions, the western Mediterranean is a region that will face severe climatic changes. Therefore, the island of Corsica in that region has been the target for palaeoclimate reconstructions by means of dendrochronology and stable isotopes. However, the oxygen stable isotope results from Corsican pines could not yet be interpreted satisfactorily. The oxygen stable isotope values (delta18O) of tree rings mainly depend on the oxygen isotope ratio of local precipitation and soil water. The precipitation delta18O values vary according to temperature, altitude and the moisture source area. Such parameters are determined nowadays rather precise but need to be assumed for the past. An important isotope effect is the so-called altitude effect that describes the relation of the delta18O value of precipitation and altitude. The large global network of isotopes in precipitation (GNIP) database of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) allows for a good regional estimate of isotope effects. However, things become more difficult in regions with high and steep mountain reliefs. Some latest publications suggest that the altitude gradient is absent in such regions during specific seasons. The reason for that observation could be seasonal height variations of the atmospheric planetary boundary layer (PBL). This isotope hydrology proposal is part of the project package CorsicArchive that also consists of interlinking proposals for climate, dendroisotopes and dendroecology. It is planned to install and regularly sample nine isotope precipitation samplers along an east-west altitudinal transect. This proposal will specifically explore the dynamics of the PBL and the isotope altitude effect. Additional questions relate to moisture source of air masses and the local moisture recycling within the islands hydrologic cycle. Furthermore, soil water and surface water analyses are planned to trace and quantify changes of the delta18O values along the pathway of water to the tree rings. The approach of this proposal aims to fill the gaps in the current knowledge of isotope hydrology of high reliefs and will finally lead to a more robust interpretation of related climate proxies in a climate change sensitive region. With respect to the current climate change, it is essential to understand climatic variations and its triggers in the past to better predict future changes.
  • Programm zur Förderung von Institutspartnerschaften
    (Third Party Funds Single)
    Term: 1 Jan 2015 - 30 Jun 2017
    Funding source: Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung
  • How does preferential flow influence carbon transport and changes between DIC, DOC and POC? Advances with combined modeling and stable isotope approaches (Pref-Carb-Flow)
    (Third Party Funds Single)
    Term: 1 Jul 2014 - 1 Jul 2017
    Funding source: DFG-Einzelförderung / Sachbeihilfe (EIN-SBH)
    In a joint effort between the Department of Hydraulics and Hydrology (DHH), at the Faculty of Civil Engineering (FCE) at the Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU) and the chair of Applied Geology at the University of Erlangen, the role of CO2, dissolved inorganic and organic as well as particulate organic carbon (DIC, DOC and POC) turnover and transport will be investigated with particular focus on preferential flow and its modeling. The study area is the Uhlirska Catchment in the Jizera Mountains of the Czech Republic that lies in a granitic bedrock environment and thus covers an acid-sensitive terrain that has strongly variable --and so far poorly constrained -- carbon dynamics. The latter are caused by active acid weathering, partial cover by peats and other carbon-rich soils. The work proposed here is highly complementary to a parallel submission by partners from CTU to the Czech Science Foundation (GACR) (Subsurface transport of water, carbon and heat - combined hydrological, geochemical and isotopic approach). This is because newly developed models for this test area can quantify flow paths and were calibrated with stable isotopes of water. They are thus an ideal foundation for expansion to carbon cycle investigations with associated isotope distributions, residence times and the most important compartments of storage and turnover in the catchment. Furthermore historic and new data as well infrastructure, field- and laboratory efforts will be shared between the involved research groups via this approach.
  • Preliminary biogeochemical investigations of small rivers in the Franconian Alb to lay foundations for detailed investigations of turnover and origin of high carbon in the Main River system
    (Third Party Funds Single)
    Term: 1 Feb 2012 - 1 Feb 2015
    Funding source: DFG-Einzelförderung / Sachbeihilfe (EIN-SBH)
    Investigations of the carbon cycle in river systems are important to outline interactions between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere. They also allow quantification of carbon fluxes to larger river systems and ultimately the ocean. This helps to constrain terrestrial carbon cycles that in turn have strong influences on the atmospheric CO2 through providing sources and sinks. Flux rates of carbon by rivers can also help to provide boundary parameters for climate models. In this context, rivers act as important integral information sources because they are key links between terrestrial systems and oceans. On the other hand, most rivers actively release considerable amounts of carbon to the atmosphere in the form of CO2. Nonetheless, its sources from soils, groundwater or river internal turnover are poorly defined. These aspects are planned to be investigated in small river systems of less than 12 m3 s-1 discharge in the Franconian Alb. Such small stream investigations holds promise to better quantify processes and mechanisms including geological, agricultural and urban influences on riverine carbon cycles. This work opens the opportunity to start biogeochemical investigations on the Main River System that is one of the major tributairies of the Rhine, one of the major waterways in Europe. It is placed in international context by allowing comparison to work on other river systems in various countries.



  • Head of GeoZentrum Nordbayern / Head of Department Geography and Geosciences
  • President of German Chapter of the International Association of Hydrogeologists
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  •  Associated Editor of online journal  ‘Sustainability’
    read more…

Research topics

  • Application of stable isotopes in ground and surface waters to establish mass balances, material turnover and fluxes
  • Behavior and turnover of pollutants
  • Aquatic Chemistry Chemie
  • CO2 and its behavior in the subsurface and surface waters
  • Dissolved oxygen and isotopes


Current lectures

other topics

  • Basin Scale Mass and Solute Fluxes
  • Hydrogeologie
  • Tracer, stabile Isotope und Natural Attenuation
  • Geländeübungen in Hydrogelogie
  • Hydroralley
  • Hydrochemie