Scientific Committee Member
CONICET & Universidad Nacional de San Luis
After finishing his degree of Agronomist and a Master of Science in UBA - Argentina, Dr. Jobbágy went for his PhD to the US. Under the advise of Professor Robert Jackson at Duke University, Esteban explored they way in which plants influence the vertical distribution of nutrients in the soil. His work included field experiments and extensive compilations of existing soil data and yielded insights into what he coined as the "nutrient uplift" mechanisms, responsible of sustaining soil fertility and widespread global patterns of top soil enrichment. Some of this early work has been highly cited in journals and even in text books (e.g. Ecological Applications 2000 paper cited >2500 times in journals and figures of many of these papers included in text books). Some of this work was included in IPCC reports on climate change mitigation, of which Dr. Jobbágy was a contributing author. Back in Argentina, since year 2002, Dr. Jobbágy became interested on the interactions between terrestrial ecosystems and groundwater. Focusing on the vast plains of the country and the fast vegetation changes that take place there, Esteban illustrated in many publications to what extent the hydrological system of flat sedimentary landscapes is shaped by plants and the people that grow or manage them. While many of the results had theoretical impact in the fields of Hydrology, Ecology and Biogeochemistry, they also provided clues to steer the environmental impacts of the fast expansion of agriculture in Argentina. His work has provided light on the problem of recurrent and increasing flooding in the plains (Pampas and Chaco) and has involved from early stages the collaboration with policy makers and farmers. In 2003 Esteban took a CONICET position as Assistant Researcher in San Luis. Since this first step in which he moved alone to the University of San Luis, his team has grown to a number of 15 researchers, students and technician in 2003 and to 18 in 2017. He has mentored six finished PhDs so far and received tens of visiting researchers and students from other labs in Argentina and abroad. The GEA lab (Grupo de Estudios Ambientales), which he founded, is a reference spot in the country for Ecohydrological and Remote Sensing studies, often contacted not only by scientists but by policy makers and farmer organizations as well. Perhaps at the root of this fluid connection with many sectors beyond the scientific community is Esteban ́s commitment to divulgation to broad audiences, including workshops with farmers (more than 40 over the last seven years), divulgation articles, and more recently, documentaries (see "Gran Chaco" and "Rio Nuevo" both available in youtube). Dr. Jobbágy is the chief editor of the journal Ecología Austral, based in Argentina and representing the most widespread and cited ecological publication in Spanish language. He is also an editor of Journal of Arid Environments, Ecohydrology and Land Degradation and Development. He has participated in multiple international workshops, being invited to present his work in across Universities and Institutes in the US and Europe and in conferences like the AGU meeting. Dr. Jobbagy was granted the Konex award (2013), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2011), the Ambassador Award from AGU (2018), and the TWAS award for Agricultural Sciences (2019).