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College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty and Staff

John A. Kupfer

Title: Professor
Department: Geography
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-5234
Office: Callcott Room 127 and 220
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment
Department of Geography


After graduating with a B.A. in Geography from Valparaiso University (1988), Dr. Kupfer received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Iowa. He then served as a Research Associate and Instructor at the University of Utah from 1993-1994 and held tenure-track positions at the University of Memphis (1994-1999) and the University of Arizona (1999-2005). He joined the USC faculty in 2005 and became department chair in 2013. Professionally, he has served on the Senior Advisory Panel for the Geography and Spatial Sciences Program of the National Science Foundation, as a member of the Landscape Pattern Workgroup of the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, and on the Advisory Board of the University of Arizona’s College of Social & Behavioral Sciences Research Institute. He is currently co-editor of Geography Compass, Coordinating Editor of Landscape Ecology, and Associate Editor of Plant Ecology.He has also served on the Publications and Honors Committees for the Association of American Geographers (AAG) and as President of the AAG’s Biogeography Specialty Group. He was named a Fellow at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy in Tucson, AZ, and a Summer Research Fellow at the Meeman Biological Field Station in Millington, TN.


Dr. Kupfer’s research couples field work with spatial analysis and modeling to explore the effects of landscape transformation, non-native species, and disturbances such as flooding, fire and hurricanes on plant and animal communities. His studies often have direct applications to ecosystem management, and he works regularly with scientists at Congaree National Park, where he has aided their understanding of the interactions among flooding, sedimentation and floodplain forests. He has published in top journals in geography and ecology, with recent research papers that have appeared in Global Ecology and Biogeography,Journal of BiogeographyProgress in Physical GeographyLandscape Ecology, and Ecological Informatics. He has garnered $1.4 million in external funding from a range of sources, including NSF, and received research awards from several professional societies and universities. Dr. Kupfer actively integrates his research interests and projects into his undergraduate and graduate courses and engages students in his research. He has mentored three Magellan Scholars, and prior to arriving at USC in 2005, he won the University of Arizona Provost’s General Education Teaching Award and the University of Memphis Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award. He was also awarded the 2013 Ada B Thomas Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award. 


GEOG 348: Biogeography
GEOG 370: America's National Parks
GEOG 570: Public Land and Water Policy
GEOG 740: Research Methods in Geography
GEOG 747: Seminar in Physical Geography
ENVR 101: Introduction to the Environment

Representative Publications  

Meitzen, K.M. and Kupfer, J.A. Abandoned meander forest development patterns in a large alluvial southeastern floodplain, South Carolina, USA. In press, River Systems.

Kupfer, J.A., Meitzen, K.M. and Gao, P. 2014. Flooding and surface connectivity of Taxodium-Nyssa stands in a southern floodplain forest ecosystem. River Research and Applications, DOI: 10.1002/rra/2828.   

Gao, P., Kupfer, J.A., Guo, D and Lei, T.L. 2013. Identifying functionally-connected habitat compartments with a novel regionalization technique. Landscape Ecology 28: 1949-1959.

Kupfer, J.A. 2012. Landscape ecology and biogeography: Rethinking landscape metrics in a post-FRAGSTATS landscape. Progress in Physical Geography 36: 400-420.

Vaclavik, T.R., Kupfer, J.A. and Meentemeyer, R.K. 2012. Accounting for multi-scale spatial autocorrelation improves performance of invasive species distribution modelling (iSDM). Journal of Biogeography 39: 42-55.

Kupfer J.A. 2011. Theory in landscape ecology and its relevance to biogeography. In: Millington, A., Blumler, M. and Schickhoff, U. (eds) Handbook of Biogeography. London: Sage Press, pp. 57-74.

Kupfer, J.A. and Gao, P. 2011. Spatial patterns of ecological integrity in South Carolina watersheds. Southeastern Geographer 51: 394-410.

Kupfer, J.A. Meitzen, K.M., and A.R. Pipkin. 2010. Controls of early post-logging successional pathways in a southern floodplain forest. Forest Ecology and Management.