Office: C5b/028

Highly cited scientist ecology/environment, in plant and animal sciences, agricultural sciences, geosciences and in all science fields of the ISI essential science indicators. (h index: 152 GS, i10 index: 840 and his works have received ca.117.000 citations GS). 

Prof. Peñuelas is one of the most respected, cited and influential ecologists working today in the world; no one working in global ecology can afford not to engage with his work. Professor Josep Penuelas is internationally recognized for his innovative research on global change ecology, remote sensing and atmosphere-biosphere interactions which has had enormous impact. He is specially known for his pioneering work on the discovery of ecophysiological mechanisms linked to the use of carbon and oxygen use that helps to explain the diversity and distribution of aquatic and terrestrial plants; the development of increasingly used remote sensing techniques to assess plant and ecosystem functioning (e.g. he codeveloped the PRI, photochemical reflectance index, and t'he WBI, water band índex, that ser are becoming established tools in remote sensing of natural and agricultural ecosystems); the discovery of current evidences of global change, climate change, and air pollution effects on biodiversity and structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems; the introduction of metabolomics in ecology, the study of the mechanisms, function and effects of volatile organic compounds emissions by plants and ecosystems, the disentangling of biogeochemical processes involved in the carbon and nutrient cycles, or the development of science and policy for a sustainable planet, among many others. This work led to a critical understanding of how environment and ecology are centrally important in managing the global environmental crisis. Prof Peñuelas has also introduced seminal concepts and tools in ecology like the “elemetome” or the “biogeochemical niche”, in omic sciences such as “ecometabolomics”, in remote sensing such as “photochemical reflectance index” or “water index”. He has coordinated groups of international scientists in the production of a series of influential papers on Ecology, Earth sciences, plant and animal sciences, agriculture, and the influences that human activities have on the biosphere. He also has an international reputation in other, diverse fields, such as molecular ecology, theoretical ecology, agriculture, food security, global human health, or the role of humans in precipitating global change and existential crisis during the Anthropocene. This expertise is reflected in the number of Keynote and Plenary invitations in the most prestigious universities and research centres and the Prizes and Awards he receives every year has been awarded to.

His fields of specialization are: global ecology, global change, climate change, pollution, atmosphere-biosphere, Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds emissions, remote sensing, plant ecophysiology, functioning and structure of terrestrial plants and ecosystems, chemical ecology, ecometabolomics, microbial ecology, macroecology, evolutionary ecology, biogeochemistry with special focus on phosphorus, environmental sustainability, food security and global health.

He has published 6 books on ecology, more than 1.500 papers in scientific journals and books (more than 1000 in journals of the Science Citation Index (Web of Science): 100 in Nature journals, 12 in Science journals, 14 in PNAS, 6 in National Science Review and Science Bulletin, 20 in Trends in Plant Science and 9 in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, as well as in the highest-profile scientific journals in ecology and environmental sciences – 84 in Global Change Biology, 28 in Global Ecology and Biogeography, 7 in Ecology Letters; remote sensing – 17 in Remote Sensing of Environment; and plant biology – 37 in New Phytologist. More than 300 articles on popular science in Catalan and Spanish newspapers (La VanguardiaAvuiEl PaísEl Periódico, Ara...). It is also outstanding his labour popularizing science issues at international and national scale.

He has been principal investigator or scientific coordinator of several European Union, Spanish and Catalan projects financed by public research agencies and by private funding. Among them, he has been awarded with ERC-Synergy 2014-2020 grant. His Imbalance-P project elected between the highlighted 15 examples of how ERC researchers have truly transformed science (among 10,000 ERC grantees). He has supervised 64 PhD, 51 masters, and 64 post-docs.

He is member of the editorial board of Trends in Plant Science, Ecology Letters, Global Change Biology, Global Ecology and Biogeography, New Phytologist, Remote Sensing of the Environment, Atmospheric Pollution Research, e-Forestry, Journal of Plant Ecology, Journal of Botany and Plant Ecology and Diversity and Trees. He collaborates in the reviewing of articles in many scientific journals, some of them of great prestige such as Science, Nature, Nature Geoscience, Nature Climate Change, Nature Communications, Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (USA), Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Trends in Plant Science, among many others. He also evaluates scientific projects for several international and national programmes. He is member of several academies and international and national scientific associations.

He has been visiting professor or visiting scientist in more than 50 universities and centers in all the continents, including for example, universities of BBarcelona, Los Angeles, Washington, Duke, Lancaster, Avignon, Paris, Saint Andrews, Mexico, Tokyo, Sheffield, National Center for Atmospheric Research (Boulder Colorado), Phoenix, Flagstaff, Vancouver, Boulder, Hawaii at Moana, Mèxic, Danah Latu (Borneo), Austalian National University (Canberra), Stanford, Colorado, Kuopio, British Columbia, Maryland, Católica de Chile, Northern Arizona, Tsukuba (Japan), Malaysia Sabah, Stanford, Lancaster, China Academy of Sciences, Macquarie University, NCAR Boulder, Beijing, ASU Phoenix, NAU Flagstaff, Berkeley, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, PNNL Richland (Washington), Antwerp University, University of Zurich, Talahua-Simiatug (Bolivar-Ecuador), Berkeley, Stanford, Cambridge,  Brno, Vienna, Birmingham, Center of Molecular Plant Biology University of Delhi, Nanjin, Beijing, Tribhuvan, Athens, Oxford, …He is involved on seminars and postgraduate courses in many of the main national and international Universities.

He has received several awards-prizes both national and international (Omnium cultural 1975, Omnium cultural 1976, Comte de Barcelona 1990, NASA 1993, Japan Ministry of Science 1998, Environment Award Institut d'Estudis Catalans-Caixa Sabadell 2008, National Research Prize of Catalonia 2010, ERC-Synergy 2013, silver badge of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans 2014, Prize King Jaume I 2015, Adoptive Son of Figueres 2016, Ramon Margalef prize in Ecology 2016, Doctor Honoris Causa by the Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, Estonia 2016, Chair of the panel of judges for the Nature’s awards for scientific mentoring 2017, Special mention at the City of barcelona Prize 2017 in the class of Earth and environmental sciences 2017, Chinese Academy of Sciences Distinguished Scientist 2018, Marsh Award for Climate Change Research Prize for the British Ecological Society 2018, IV Excellence Prize Ramon Muntaner 2018, City of Barcelona Prize in the category of Experimental and Earth Sciences 2018, Member of the Scientific advisory council, Barcelona City Council 2019, Elected Honorary member of the Catalan College of Biologists 2019, CREAF accredited as centre of excellence Severo Ochoa (Spain’s Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities) 2019; Nominated among the four hundred most influential scientists in all fields and among the ten most influential scientists in ecological and environmental sciences (Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford – METRICS) 2019; Elected American Geophysical Union 2020 Fellow for his exceptional contributions in the Earth and space sciences; Ranked one of the sixty most influential researchers in Spain and Spaniards abroad based on the Webometrics Ranking 2021; Recognized as an Expertscape World Expert in Climatic Processes. https://expertscape.com/ex/climatic+processes 2021; Most productive ecologist of the world (GlobalauthorID 2021 ranking); 1st position in the ranking of leading ecology and evolution scientists of Spain (Research.com) 2022; Highly cited scientist in ecology/environment, plant and animal sciences, agricultural sciences, geosciences and in all scientific fields of the ISI essential science indicators 2016-2022;…). He was the president of Institució Catalana d'Història Natural, adviser of CADS (Consell Asessor per al Desenvolupament Sostenible), Generalitat of Catalonia and since 2019 is member of the Consell Assessor Científic of the Ajuntament de Barcelona.


Global ecology, Functioning and structure of Mediterranean terrestrial plants and ecosystems, ecophysiology, Macroecology and evolutionary ecology, Biogeochemistry, Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds emissions, Chemical ecology and metabolomics, Atmosphere-biosphere, Remote sensing, Climate and global change, Pollution, Environmental sustainability, Food security.