Spatial ecology and remote sensing

Spatial Ecology and Remote Sensing

Solar radiation and its partitioning in vegetation canopies is an important factor influencing ecosystem processes such as decomposition, plant growth, species competition, and succession. On the other hand the land surface-atmosphere interaction, including fluxes of carbon, energy, and water, is highly depending on the vegetation type. Our aim is to develop, map and apply continuous vegetation variables (e.g. albedo, leaf area index, plant functional type fractional cover) and landscape proxies relevant to ecosystem and climate processes (e.g. vegetation successional development and biodiversity, energy partitioning, methane emissions), as eventual input to ecosystem and climate models. We use spectro-directional remote sensing data from leaf to ecosystem scale, integrating field observations (spectral reflectance, species composition, leaf area index) to satellite imagery. Our current focus lies on the Siberian Arctic tundra, including permafrost, and peatland ecosystems. To improve the quality of the satellite-inferred variables, we are contributing to international efforts on the definition and validation of reflectance and land surface albedo products.

Recent Publications

  • Plant functional trait change across a warming tundra biome
    Bjorkman, AD; Myers-Smith, IH; Elmendorf, SC; Normand, S; Ruger, N; Beck, PSA; Blach-Overgaard, A; Blok, D; Cornelissen, JHC; Forbes, BC; Georges, D; Goetz, SJ; Guay, KC; Henry, GHR; HilleRisLambers, J; Hollister, RD; Karger, DN; Kattge, J; Manning, P; Prevey, JS; Rixen, C; Schaepman-Strub, G; Thomas, HJD; Vellend, M; Wilmking, M; Wipf, S; Carbognani, M; Hermanutz, L; Levesque, E; Molau, U; Petraglia, A; Soudzilovskaia, NA; Spasojevic, MJ; Tomaselli, M; Vowles, T; Alatalo, JM; Alexander, HD; Anadon-Rosell, A; Angers-Blondin, S; te Beest, M; Berner, L; Bjork, RG; Buchwal, A; Buras, A; Christie, K; Cooper, EJ; Dullinger, S; Elberling, B; Eskelinen, A; Frei, ER; Grau, O; Grogan, P; Hallinger, M; Harper, KA; Heijmans, MMPD; Hudson, J; Hulber, K; Iturrate-Garcia, M; Iversen, CM; Jaroszynska, F; Johnstone, JF; Jorgensen, RH; Kaarlejarvi, E; Klady, R; Kuleza, S; Kulonen, A; Lamarque, LJ; Lantz, T; Little, CJ; Speed, JDM; Michelsen, A; Milbau, A; Nabe-Nielsen, J; Nielsen, SS; Ninot, JM; Oberbauer, SF; Olofsson, J; Onipchenko, VG; Rumpf, SB; Semenchuk, P; Shetti, R; Collier, LS; Street, LE; Suding, KN; Tape, KD; Trant, A; Treier, UA; Tremblay, JP; Tremblay, M; Venn, S; Weijers, S; Zamin, T; Boulanger-Lapointe, N; Gould, WA; Hik, DS; Hofgaard, A; Jonsdottir, IS; Jorgenson, J; Klein, J; Magnusson, B; Tweedie, C; Wookey, PA; Bahn, M; Blonder, B; van Bodegom, PM; Bond-Lamberty, B; Campetella, G; Cerabolini, BEL; Chapin, FS; Cornwell, WK; Craine, J; Dainese, M; de Vries, FT; Diaz, S; Enquist, BJ; Green, W; Milla, R; Niinemets, U; Onoda, Y; Ordonez, JC; Ozinga, WA; Penuelas, J;
    Poorter, H; Poschlod, P; Reich, PB; Sande, B; Schamp, B; Sheremetev, S; Weiher, E
    NATURE, 562 (7725):57-+; 10.1038/s41586-018-0563-7 OCT 4 2018
  • Predicting habitat quality of protected dry grasslands using Landsat NDVI phenology
    Weber, D; Schaepman-Strub, G; Ecker, K
    ECOLOGICAL INDICATORS, 91 447-460; 10.3016/j.ecolind.2018.03.081 AUG 2018
  • Accelerating rates of Arctic carbon cycling revealed by long-term atmospheric CO2 measurements
    Jeong, SJ; Bloom, AA; Schimel, D; Sweeney, C; Parazoo, NC; Medvigy, D; Schaepman-Strub, G; Zheng, CM; Schwalm, CR; Huntzinger, DN; Michalak, AM; Miller, CE
    SCIENCE ADVANCES, 4 (7):10.1126/sciadv.aao1167 JUL 2018
  • Integrative research efforts at the boundary of biodiversity and global change research
    Abiven, S; Altermatt, F; Backhaus, N; Deplazes-Zemp, A; Furrer, R; Korf, B; Niklaus, PA; Schaepman-Strub, G; Shimizu, KK; Zuppinger-Dingley, D; Petchey, OL; Schaepman, ME
    CURRENT OPINION IN ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY, 29 215-222; 10.1016/j.cosust.2018.04.016 DEC 2017 
  • Genomics meets remote sensing in global change studies: monitoring and predicting phenology, evolution and biodiversity
    Yamasaki, E; Altermatt, F; Cavender-Bares, J; Schuman, MC; Zuppinger-Dingley, D; Garonna, I; Schneider, FD; Guillen-Escriba, C; van Moorsel, SJ; Hahl, T; Schmid, B; Schaepman-Strub, G; Schaepman, ME; Shimizu, KK
    CURRENT OPINION IN ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY, 29 177-186; 10.1016/j.cosust.2018.03.005 DEC 2017
  • The Nagoya Protocol could backfire on the Global South
    Deplazes-Zemp, A; Abiven, S; Schaber, P; Schaepman, M; Schaepman-Strub, G; Schmid, B; Shimizu, KK; Altermatt, F
    NATURE ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION, 2 (6):917-919; 10.1038/s41559-018-0561-z JUN 2018
  • Predicting Missing Values in Spatio-Temporal Remote Sensing Data
    Gerber, Florian; de Jong, Rogier; Schaepman, Michael E.; Schaepman-Strub, Gabriela; Furrer, Reinhard
    IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON GEOSCIENCE AND REMOTE SENSING, 56 (5):2841-2853; 10.1109/TGRS.2017.2785240 MAY 2018
  • Patterns of activity and body temperature of Aldabra giant tortoises in relation to environmental temperature 
    Falcon, Wilfredo; Baxter, Rich P.; Furrer, Samuel; et al. 
    ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, 8 (4): 2108-2121, FEB 2018
Gabriela Schaepman-Strub

Dr. Gabriela Schaepman-Strub
University of Zurich
Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
8008 Zurich

Tel: +41 (0)44 635 48 06

Research topics

  • Remote sensing of vegetation
  • Energy fluxes in tundra ecosystems and peatlands
  • Arctic climate change
  • Radiation-vegetation interaction
  • Land surface albedo
  • Reflectance and albedo definitions



  • Climate modelling
  • Carbon cycle
  • Vegetation successional development
  • Peatland ecosystem processes