NZZ: “A flying guardian of Earth’s ecosystems”

Michael Schaepman

NOMIS scientist Michael Schaepman’s remote sensing and biodiversity research has been featured in an article by Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ). The article, “Ein fliegender Wächter für die Ökosysteme der Erde” (in English, “A flying guardian of Earth’s ecosystems”), describes Schaepman’s work using remote sensing technologies to monitor the Earth’s rapidly changing ecosystems. Starting on a small scale, Schaepman and a scientist from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab are using an imaging spectrometer to monitor the Swiss National Park’s ecosystems.

Capturing and understanding the diversity of plants, their physiological and morphological properties, and their genetic variation is vitally important to monitoring plant diversity, the processes contributing to coexistence and ecosystem functioning, and how diversity responds to environmental change.

Schaepman is professor of remote sensing and is leading the project Remotely Sensing Ecological Genomics at the University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. By establishing a biodiversity observatory to systematically measure plant functional traits, phylogenies and intraspecific genetic variation in a variety of ecosystems, the project’s scientists will be able to predict how ecosystems respond to accelerating global change drivers.