Spatial Ecology & Remote Sensing

Our research interests focus on the role of vegetation, its composition and structure, on land surface processes and climate feedbacks. Radiation is one of the key factors linking land surface and atmospheric processes. At the same time, radiation is a limiting growth factor of vegetation, be it in the short wavelength range as photosynthetically active radiation or in the longwave domain as temperature. Our goal is to contribute to ecological and climatological questions through combined field and satellite radiation measurements, radiative modelling, and ecological experimental approaches, from the plant to the landscape scale.
The emphasis lies on continuous process-related ecosystem variables (e.g. albedo, plant traits), going beyond traditional land cover types with spatially discrete class boundaries. Our focus is on vegetation dynamics, biodiversity and related permafrost-vegetation-atmosphere processes in Northeastern Siberian tundra.


  • 04/02/19 - Welcome to Jacqueline Oehri, starting her postdoc today with us!
  • 01/18/19 - Welcome to Cengiz Akandil, looking forward to supervise you on your MSc thesis on Arctic land surface changes!
  • 02/12/18 - Welcome to our research group, Raleigh Grysko!
  • 26/11/18 - Congratulations to Stas for the paper on perception of biodiversity changes in Arctic Yakutia by indigenous people!
  • 24/10/18 - Follow the live stream of the Science Forum, 2nd Arctic Science Ministerial tomorrow, 25/10/18! Theme is the co-operation in Arctic Science!
  • 24/10/18 - Gabriela participated in the Arctic Biodiversity Congress of the Arctic Council - a true Science-Policy experience, high-level and highly interesting discussions on the co-production of knowledge by indigenous people and scientists! Check out the congress summary! All presentations will also be available soon.
  • 27/09/18 - Check out our contribution to a Nature article - plant height in the tundra has increased with temperature, but other traits are co-limited by soil moisture  Nature article UZH Science news
  • 24/09/18 - Welcome to our two new group members - Raleigh Grysko will start his PhD on 1 Dec, Jacqueline Oehri a postdoc on 1 Feb!
  • 26/07/18 - Our Science Advances article on the accelerating carbon cycle in the Arctic is out here
  • 26/07/18 - Field work season in Kytalyk coming to an end - a windy and cold campaign this year, but successful. Thanks to all students for a great and productive time out there! Pictures to follow soon.
  • 03/05/18 - Gabriela will travel to Greenland to explore collaboration opportunities with the planned Science Hub. UZH news article
  • 21/03/18 - Gabriela is now a member of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) working group, representing Switzerland as an observer of the Arctic Council.
  • 26/01/18 - Gabriela is now an Editorial Advisor of the Board of Polar Record.
  • 10/01/18 - Our article on the fishing resources in the Yakutian Arctic is listed as Polar Record Editor's pick
  • 08/01/18 - Stas Ksenofontov has received an  IASC fellowship 2018. He was one out of only 5 recipients from 135 applicants! Congratulations, Stas!
  • Gabriela received an award by the parliament of the Republic of Sacha (Yakutia) for her contributions to climate and biodiversity research!
  • Coverage of Beat Glogger's talk show with Gabriela now online and printed in many regional newspapers in Switzerland
  • Visit our blog on the field work during summer 2013 in Siberia!

Research Themes:

  • Biodiversity and climate interactions in Arctic tundra ecosystems
  • Arctic shrub encroachment and its feedbacks to permafrost and climate
  • Land surface reflectance and albedo definitions and measurements
  • Validation of satellite-inferred land products
  • Spatial patterns of vegetation and animal movement