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Michael Schaepman

Michael Schaepman


NOMIS Project(s)

Michael Schaepman is president of the University of Zurich (Switzerland). He is leading the Remotely Sensing Ecological Genomics project.

Schaepman studied geography, experimental physics and computer science at the University of Zurich (UZH) and earned his PhD in spectroscopy from the Department of Geography at UZH in 1998. Following postdoctoral work at the University of Arizona in Tucson, US, he returned to the UZH Department of Geography in 2000 to lead a research group. In 2003, he became professor of geographic information science at the Department of Environmental Sciences at Wageningen University (Netherlands), where, in 2005, he was appointed academic head of the Center for Geoinformation. He served as dean of science at UZH from 2014-2017. Schaepman has been president of the University of Zurich since August 2020.

His current research seeks to measure and understand the genetic mechanisms underlying the behavior of plants in their natural environment by linking genomics (function and structure of genes), phenomics (physical and biochemical traits) and spectranomics (mapping phylogenies as well as composition and chemistry of plants using light-matter interactions) at different spatial and temporal scales using remote sensing. The approach is a unique combination of new theory, modeling, experiments, observations and big data approaches to create a new integrative research field of remotely sensing ecological genomics.

Michael Schaepman | Awards Film

Michael Schaepman | Insights Film

Michael Schaepman's News

In a feature story in Science, Elizabeth Pennisi discusses the importance of remote sensing research by plant ecologist Jeannine Cavender-Bares and colleagues, including NOMIS researcher and University of Zurich President […]

Perrine Huber of swissnex San Francisco explains how a collaboration between NASA in California and the University of Zurich will help scientists better understand how the Earth and its climate […]

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 […]

The University of Zurich (UZH) has published an article about remote sensing expert Michael Schaepman’s plans to use a new aerial sensing method to investigate the complex interplay between ecosystems, […]

Michael Schaepman's Insights

Abstract: Remote sensing of vegetation by spectroscopy is increasingly used to characterize trait distributions in plant communities. How leaves interact with electromagnetic radiation is determined by their structure and contents of pigments, water, and abundant dry matter constituents like lignins, phenolics, and proteins. High-resolution (“hyperspectral”) spectroscopy can characterize trait variation at
Abstract: Aim: Globally distributed plant trait data are increasingly used to understand relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem processes. However, global trait databases are sparse because they are compiled from many, mostly small databases. This sparsity in both trait space completeness and geographical distribution limits the potential for both multivariate and global
Abstract: Genetic diversity influences the evolutionary potential of forest trees under changing environmental conditions, thus indirectly the ecosystem services that forests provide. European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) is a dominant European forest tree species that increasingly suffers from climate change-related die-back. Here, we conducted a systematic literature review of neutral genetic