Institut für Geographie und Geoökologie (IFGG)

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Schmidtlein

  • Forschung, Lehre, Leitung
  • Gruppe: Vegetation
  • Sprechstunden: In der Vorlesungszeit: Dienstags 17:00 - 18:00 nach Anmeldung per Email
  • Raum: Geb. 10.50, Raum 810
  • schmidtleinNzx6∂kit edu
  • Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
    Institut für Geographie und Geoökologie
    Kaiserstr. 12
    76131 Karlsruhe

Sebastian Schmidtlein

Full Professor of Physical Geography and Geoecology, head Research Group on Vegetation


  • Remote sensing of vegetation
  • Ecoinformatics
  • Vegetation ecology

Curriculum Vitae

Professional experience

2013 - Full Professor of Physical Geography and Geoecology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
2006 - 2013 Professor of Vegetation Geography, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
2002 - 2006     Research Associate; Universität Bayreuth, Chair of Biogeography 
2001 - 2002 Research Associate; Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Chair of Geographical Remote Sensing
1986 - 2000 Freelancer in landscape planning and habitat mapping     


2006 Habilitation in Geography, Universität Hamburg
2000 PhD, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, topic: "On the assessment of vegetation patterns at the landscape level"
1994 Diploma in Physical Geography, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Community Service

Associate editor: Applied Vegetation Science, Journal of Vegetation Science, advisory board Erdkunde, steering committee of the Ecoinformatics Working Group (International Association of Vegetation Science), referee for Biology Letters, Botanica Helvetica, Ecological Informatics, Ecological Modelling, Geoarchaeology, Global Ecology and Biogeography, International Journal of Remote Sensing, Journal of Biogeography, Mountain Research and Development, Remote Sensing of Environment, Folia Geobotanica and others

List of Presentations


Referenced journal articles

Ewald, M.; Skowronek, S.; Aerts, R.; Lenoir, J.; Feilhauer, H.; Van De Kerchove, R.; Honnay, O.; Somers, B.; Garzón-López, C. X.; Rocchini, D.; Schmidtlein, S. (2020). Assessing the impact of an invasive bryophyte on plant species richness using high resolution imaging spectroscopy. Ecological indicators, 110, Art.-Nr.: 105882. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.105882
Kattenborn, T.; Eichel, J.; Wiser, S.; Burrows, L.; Fassnacht, F. E.; Schmidtlein, S. (2020). Convolutional Neural Networks accurately predict cover fractions of plant species and communities in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle imagery [in press]. Remote sensing in ecology and conservation. doi:10.1002/rse2.146
Senn, J. A.; Fassnacht, F. E.; Eichel, J.; Seitz, S.; Schmidtlein, S. (2020). A new concept for estimating the influence of vegetation on throughfall kinetic energy using aerial laser scanning. Earth surface processes and landforms, 45 (7), 1487–1498. doi:10.1002/esp.4820VolltextVolltext der Publikation als PDF-Dokument
Kattenborn, T.; Fassnacht, F. E.; Schmidtlein, S. (2019). Differentiating plant functional types using reflectance: which traits make the difference?. Remote sensing in ecology and conservation, 5 (1), 5–19. doi:10.1002/rse2.86VolltextVolltext der Publikation als PDF-Dokument
Kattenborn, T.; Schiefer, F.; Zarco-Tejada, P.; Schmidtlein, S. (2019). Advantages of retrieving pigment content [μg/cm 2 ] versus concentration [%] from canopy reflectance. Remote sensing of environment, 230, Art. Nr.: 111195. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2019.05.014
Lopatin, J.; Kattenborn, T.; Galleguillos, M.; Perez-Quezada, J. F.; Schmidtlein, S. (2019). Using aboveground vegetation attributes as proxies for mapping peatland belowground carbon stocks. Remote sensing of environment, 231, 111217. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2019.111217
Ewald, M.; Aerts, R.; Lenoir, J.; Fassnacht, F. E.; Nicolas, M.; Skowronek, S.; Piat, J.; Honnay, O.; Garzón-López, C. X.; Feilhauer, H.; Van De Kerchove, R.; Somers, B.; Hattab, T.; Rocchini, D.; Schmidtlein, S. (2018). LiDAR derived forest structure data improves predictions of canopy N and P concentrations from imaging spectroscopy. Remote sensing of environment, 211, 13–25. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2018.03.038
Ewald, M.; Skowronek, S.; Aerts, R.; Dolos, K.; Lenoir, J.; Nicolas, M.; Warrie, J.; Hattab, T.; Feilhauer, H.; Honnay, O.; Garzón-López, C. X.; Decocq, G.; Van De Kerchove, R.; Somers, B.; Rocchini, D.; Schmidtlein, S. (2018). Analyzing remotely sensed structural and chemical canopy traits of a forest invaded by Prunus serotina over multiple spatial scales. Biological invasions, 20 (8), 2257–2271. doi:10.1007/s10530-018-1700-9
Ferner, J.; Schmidtlein, S.; Guuroh, R. T.; Lopatin, J.; Linstädter, A. (2018). Disentangling effects of climate and land-use change on West African drylands’ forage supply. Global environmental change, 53, 24–38. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2018.08.007
Guuroh, R. T.; Ruppert, J. C.; Ferner, J.; Canak, K.; Schmidtlein, S.; Linstaedter, A. (2018). Drivers of forage provision and erosion control in West African savannas : A macroecological perspective. Agriculture, ecosystems & environment, 251, 257–267. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2017.09.017
Rocchini, D.; Bacaro, G.; Chirici, G.; Da Re, D.; Feilhauer, H.; Foody, G. M.; Galluzzi, M.; Garzon-Lopez, C. X.; Gillespie, T. W.; He, K. S.; Lenoir, J.; Marcantonio, M.; Nagendra, H.; Ricotta, C.; Rommel, E.; Schmidtlein, S.; Skidmore, A. K.; Kerchove, R. V. D.; Wegmann, M.; Rugani, B. (2018). Remotely sensed spatial heterogeneity as an exploratory tool for taxonomic and functional diversity study. Ecological indicators, 85, 983–990. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.09.055
Rocchini, D.; Luque, S.; Pettorelli, N.; Bastin, L.; Doktor, D.; Faedi, N.; Feilhauer, H.; Féret, J.-B.; Foody, G. M.; Gavish, Y.; Godinho, S.; Kunin, W. E.; Lausch, A.; Leitão, P. J.; Marcantonio, M.; Neteler, M.; Ricotta, C.; Schmidtlein, S.; Vihervaara, P.; Wegmann, M.; Nagendra, H. (2018). Measuring β-diversity by remote sensing: A challenge for biodiversity monitoring. (F. Parrini, Hrsg.)Methods in ecology and evolution, 9 (8), 1787–1798. doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12941
Skowronek, S.; Van De Kerchove, R.; Rombouts, B.; Aerts, R.; Ewald, M.; Warrie, J.; Schiefer, F.; Garzon-Lopez, C.; Hattab, T.; Honnay, O.; Lenoir, J.; Rocchini, D.; Schmidtlein, S.; Somers, B.; Feilhauer, H. (2018). Transferability of species distribution models for the detection of an invasive alien bryophyte using imaging spectroscopy data. International journal of applied earth observation and geoinformation, 68, 61–72. doi:10.1016/j.jag.2018.02.001
Aerts, R.; Ewald, M.; Nicolas, M.; Piat, J.; Skowronek, S.; Lenoir, J.; Hattab, T.; Garzón-López, C. X.; Feilhauer, H.; Schmidtlein, S.; Rocchini, D.; Decocq, G.; Somers, B.; Van De Kerchove, R.; Denef, K.; Honnay, O. (2017). Invasion by the Alien Tree Prunus serotina Alters Ecosystem Functions in a Temperate Deciduous Forest. Frontiers in plant science, 8, Art. Nr. 179. doi:10.3389/fpls.2017.00179VolltextVolltext der Publikation als PDF-Dokument
Eichel, J.; Draebing, D.; Klingbeil, L.; Wieland, M.; Eling, C.; Schmidtlein, S.; Kuhlmann, H.; Dikau, R. (2017). Solifluction meets vegetation : The role of biogeomorphic feedbacks for turf-banked solifluction lobe development. Earth surface processes and landforms, 42 (11), 1623–1635. doi:10.1002/esp.4102
Hattab, T.; Garzón-López, C. X.; Ewald, M.; Skowronek, S.; Aerts, R.; Horen, H.; Brasseur, B.; Gallet-Moron, E.; Spicher, F.; Decocq, G.; Feilhauer, H.; Honnay, O.; Kempeneers, P.; Schmidtlein, S.; Somers, B.; Van De Kerchove, R.; Rocchini, D.; Lenoir, J. (2017). A unified framework to model the potential and realized distributions of invasive species within the invaded range. Diversity & distributions, 23 (7), 806–819. doi:10.1111/ddi.12566
Kattenborn, T.; Fassnacht, F. E.; Pierce, S.; Lopatin, J.; Grime, J. P.; Schmidtlein, S. (2017). Linking plant strategies and plant traits derived by radiative transfer modelling. Journal of vegetation science, 28 (4), 717–727. doi:10.1111/jvs.12525
Lopatin, J.; Faßnacht, F. E.; Kattenborn, T.; Schmidtlein, S. (2017). Mapping plant species in mixed grassland communities using close range imaging spectroscopy. Remote sensing of environment, 201, 12–23. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2017.08.031
Schmidt, J.; Fassnacht, F. E.; Förster, M.; Schmidtlein, S. (2017). Synergetic use of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 for assessments of heathland conservation status. Remote sensing in ecology and conservation, 4 (3), 225–239. doi:10.1002/rse2.68VolltextVolltext der Publikation als PDF-Dokument
Schmidt, J.; Fassnacht, F. E.; Lausch, A.; Schmidtlein, S. (2017). Assessing the functional signature of heathland landscapes via hyperspectral remote sensing. Ecological indicators, 73, 505–512. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.10.017
Schmidt, J.; Fassnacht, F. E.; Neff, C.; Lausch, A.; Kleinschmit, B.; Förster, M.; Schmidtlein, S. (2017). Adapting a Natura 2000 field guideline for a remote sensing-based assessment of heathland conservation status. International journal of applied earth observation and geoinformation, 60, 61–71. doi:10.1016/j.jag.2017.04.005
Schmidtlein, S.; Fassnacht, F. E. (2017). The spectral variability hypothesis does not hold across landscapes. Remote sensing of environment, 192, 114–125. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2017.01.036
Skowronek, S.; Ewald, M.; Isermann, M.; van de Kerchove, R.; Lenoir, J.; Aerts, R.; Warrie, J.; Hattab, T.; Honnay, O.; Schmidtlein, S.; Rocchini, D.; Somers, B.; Feilhauer, H. (2017). Mapping an invasive bryophyte species using hyperspectral remote sensing data. Biological invasions, 19 (1), 239–254. doi:10.1007/s10530-016-1276-1
Stenzel, S.; Fassnacht, F. E.; Mack, B.; Schmidtlein, S. (2017). Identification of high nature value grassland with remote sensing and minimal field data. Ecological indicators, 74, 28–38. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.11.005
Feilhauer, H.; Doktor, D.; Schmidtlein, S.; Skidmore, A. K. (2016). Mapping pollination types with remote sensing. Journal of vegetation science, 27 (5), 999–1011. doi:10.1111/jvs.12421
Lausch, A.; Bannehr, L.; Beckmann, M.; Boehm, C.; Feilhauer, H.; Hacker, J. M.; Heurichr, M.; Jung, A.; Klenke, R.; Neumann, C.; Pause, M.; Rocchini, D.; Schaepman, M. E.; Schmidtlein, S.; Schulz, K.; Selsam, P.; Settele, J.; Skidmore, A. K.; Cord, A. F. (2016). Linking Earth Observation and taxonomic, structural and functional biodiversity: Local to ecosystem perspectives. Ecological indicators, 70 (SI), 317–339. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.06.022
Mack, B.; Roscher, R.; Stenzel, S.; Feilhauer, H.; Schmidtlein, S.; Waske, B. (2016). Mapping raised bogs with an iterative one-class classification approach. ISPRS journal of photogrammetry and remote sensing, 120, 53–64. doi:10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2016.07.008
Maringer, J.; Ascoli, D.; Kueffer, N.; Schmidtlein, S.; Conedera, M. (2016). What drives European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) mortality after forest fires of varying severity?. Forest ecology and management, 368, 81–93. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2016.03.008
De Caceres, M.; Chytry, M.; Agrillo, E.; Attorre, F.; Botta-Dukat, Z.; Capelo, J.; Czucz, B.; Dengler, J.; Ewald, J.; Faber-Langendoen, D.; Feoli, E.; Franklin, S. B.; Gavilan, R.; Gillet, F.; Jansen, F.; Jimenez-Alfaro, B.; Krestov, P.; Landucci, F.; Lengyel, A.; Loidi, J.; Mucina, L.; Peet, R. K.; Roberts, D. W.; Rolecek, J.; Schaminee, J. H. J.; Schmidtlein, S.; Theurillat, J.-P.; Tichy, L.; Walker, D. A.; Wildi, O.; Willner, W.; Wiser, S. K. (2015). A comparative framework for broad-scale plot-based vegetation classification. Applied vegetation science, 18 (4), 543–560. doi:10.1111/avsc.12179
Neumann, C.; Weiss, G.; Schmidtlein, S.; Itzerott, S.; Lausch, A.; Doktor, D.; Brell, M. (2015). Gradient-based assessment of habitat quality for spectral ecosystem monitoring. Remote sensing, 7 (3), 2871–2898. doi:10.3390/rs70302871VolltextVolltext der Publikation als PDF-Dokument
Feilhauer, H.; Dahlke, C.; Doktor, D.; Lausch, A.; Schmidtlein, S.; Schulz, G.; Stenzel, S. (2014). Mapping the local variability of Natura 2000 habitats with remote sensing. Applied Vegetation Science, 17 (4), 765–779. doi:10.1111/avsc.12115
Hein, N.; Feilhauer, H.; Finch, O.-D.; Schmidtlein, S.; Löffler, J. (2014). Snow cover determines the ecology and biogeography of spiders (araneae) in alpine tundra ecosystems. Erdkunde, 68 (3), 157–172. doi:10.3112/erdkunde.2014.03.01
Mockel, T.; Dalmayne, J.; Prentice, H. C.; Eklundh, L.; Purschke, O.; Schmidtlein, S.; Hall, K. (2014). Classification of Grassland Successional Stages Using Airborne Hyperspectral Imagery. Remote sensing, 6 (8), 7732–7761. doi:10.3390/rs6087732VolltextVolltext der Publikation als PDF-Dokument
Reu, B.; Zaehle, S.; Bohn, K.; Pavlick, R.; Schmidtlein, S.; Williams, J. W.; Kleidon, A. (2014). Future no-analogue vegetation produced by no-analogue combinations of temperature and insolation. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 23 (2), 156–167. doi:10.1111/geb.12110
Stenzel, S.; Feilhauer, H.; Mack, B.; Metz, A.; Schmidtlein, S. (2014). Remote sensing of scattered natura 2000 habitats using a one-class classifier. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 33 (1), 211–217. doi:10.1016/j.jag.2014.05.012
Eichel, J.; Krautblatter, M.; Schmidtlein, S.; Dikau, R. (2013). Biogeomorphic interactions in the Turtmann glacier forefield, Switzerland. Geomorphology, 201, 98–110. doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.06.012
Rocchini, D.; Delucchi, L.; Bacaro, G.; Cavallini, P.; Feilhauer, H.; Foody, G. M.; He, K. S.; Nagendra, H.; Porta, C.; Ricotta, C.; Schmidtlein, S.; Spano, L. D.; Wegmann, M.; Neteler, M. (2013). Calculating landscape diversity with information-theory based indices: A GRASS GIS solution. Ecological Informatics, 17, 82–93. doi:10.1016/j.ecoinf.2012.04.002
Schmidtlein, S.; Faude, U.; Rössler, O.; Feilhauer, H.; Ewald, J.; Meyn, A.; Schmidt, J. (2013). Differences between recent and historical records of upper species limits in the northern European Alps. Erdkunde, 67 (4), 345–354. doi:10.3112/erdkunde.2013.04.04
Maaten, L. van der; Schmidtlein, S.; Mahecha, M. D. (2012). Analyzing floristic inventories with multiple maps. Ecological informatics, 9, 1–10. doi:10.1016/j.ecoinf.2012.01.005
Schmidtlein, S.; Feilhauer, H.; Bruelheide, H. (2012). Mapping plant strategy types using remote sensing. Journal of vegetation science, 23 (3), 395–405. doi:10.1111/j.1654-1103.2011.01370.x
Feilhauer, H.; Asner, G. P.; Martin, R. E.; Schmidtlein, S. (2010). Brightness-normalized Partial Least Squares Regression for hyperspectral data. Journal of quantitative spectroscopy & radiative transfer, 111 (11-12), 1947–1957. doi:10.1016/j.jqsrt.2010.03.007
Feilhauer, H.; Oerke, E.-C.; Schmidtlein, S. (2010). Quantifying empirical relations between planted species mixtures and canopy reflectance with PROTEST. Remote sensing of environment, 114 (7), 1513–1521. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2010.02.006
Meyn, A.; Schmidtlein, S.; Taylor, S. W.; Girardin, M. P.; Thonicke, K.; Cramer, W. (2010). Spatial variation of trends in wildfire and summer drought in British Columbia, Canada, 1920-2000. International journal of wildland fire, 19 (3), 272–283. doi:10.1071/wf09055
Schmidtlein, S.; Tichy, L.; Feilhauer, H.; Faude, U. (2010). A brute-force approach to vegetation classification. Journal of vegetation science, 21 (6), 1162–1171. doi:10.1111/j.1654-1103.2010.01221.x
Mahecha, M. D.; Schmidtlein, S. (2008). Revealing biogeographical patterns by nonlinear ordinations and derived anisotropic spatial filters. Global ecology and biogeography, 17 (2), 284–296. doi:10.1111/j.1466-8238.2007.00368.x
Schmidtlein, S.; Zimmermann, P. (2008). Klassenlose Kartierung von Vegetationsmustern. Natur und Landschaft, 11, 494–497.
Schmidtlein, S.; Sassin, J. (2004). Mapping of continuous floristic gradients in grasslands using hyperspectral imagery. Remote sensing of environment, 92 (1), 126–138. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2004.05.004

Non-referenced journal articles

Stenzel, S.; Schmidtlein, S. (2014). Multisaisonale Datenreihen in der FFH-Kartierung - Ergebnisse des Verbundprojekts MSAVE. BfN-Skripten, 388, 36–45.

Other publications

Schmidtlein, S.; Faude, U.; Stenzel, S.; Feilhauer, H. (2014). Remote Sensing of Vegetation for Nature Conservation. Land Use and Land Cover Mapping in Europe - Practices & Trends. Ed.: I. Manakos, 203–215, Springer, Berlin. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-7969-3_13
Schmidtlein, S.; Franz, H.; Huber, D. (2010). Klimawandelszenarien für Schutzgebiete - Veränderungen potentieller Wuchsgebiete von Gefäßpflanzen im Nationalpark Berchtesgaden. Biologische Vielfalt und Klimawandel. Hrsg.: C. Epple, 70–71, Bundesamt für Naturschutz.