Professor Jed O. Kaplan


Jed O. Kaplan is an expert on the response of global vegetation to climate changes and the potential feedbacks between the Earth’s land surface and the climate system.

My research encompasses the traditional disciplines of earth sciences, geography, atmospheric chemistry, meteorology, soil science, hydrology, plant ecology and physiology, and computer science.
The focus of my work is on the role of the Earth’s land surface in the climate system. By studying the behavior of the land surface, I aim to understand the potential for biophysical and biogeochemical feedbacks between land and atmosphere in the Earth system.

BIO Jed Kaplan was born in Berkeley, California USA. He lived mostly in California until beginning his university studies. He graduated from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire USA with a double degree in Earth Sciences and Geography with hon  ors in 1994. In 1995, after a brief experience as a teacher in an international school in the Swiss Alps, he started his Ph.D. studies in Plant Ecology at Lund University, Sweden, where he was advised by Prof. Colin Prentice. His thesis: “Geophysical Applications of Vegetation Modeling”, contained studies on modeling arctic vegetation, wetland methane emissions during the Last Glacial Maximum, and the stable carbon isotope composition of global vegetation. He subsequently held postdocs at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany and the Canadian Centre for Climate Modeling and Analysis in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. From 2003-2005 he was a Marie Curie Fellow at the European Commission Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, where he collaborated with atmospheric chemists to improve our understanding of the global methane budget. In 2005 he returned to Switzerland and was an Oberassistant in the Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern, where he worked in the paleoecology group. He was also naturalized as a Belgian citizen. A year later he became a senior scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research in the Land-use Dynamics Unit. It was at this time that he became interested in human-environment interactions and the long-term impact of anthropogenic land cover change on global biogeochemical cycles and climate. From 2008 to 2013 Jed was a Swiss National Science Foundation Professorship where he was hosted by the Environmental Engineering Institute of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). In 2012 he was awarded a European Research Council Grant, which was originally hosted in the Institute for Environmental Sciences at the University of Geneva. On 1 March 2014 Jed officially joined the Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics (IDYST) at the University of Lausanne.