Spatial Ecology and Open Source Science

Ian Breckheimer, PhD Candidate, University of Washington.


  • I grew up rambling around the hills of western North Carolina near the city of Asheville, the son of "back-to-the-lander" parents. I went to school at Guilford College in Greensboro NC and graduated in May 2006 with a degree in Biology and Environmental Studies. I have always loved outdoorsy stuff and was really involved with the Outdoor Club at my school. We organized hiking, paddling, skiing and other random crazy trips.
  • After college I left the red clay of North Carolina for the red dust of tropical Australia. I was an intern for The School for Field Studies , a conservation research focused study abroad program outside of the city of Cairns in Queensland.
  • In 2008 I moved back to North Carolina and took a job with the Sandhills Area Land Trust based out of Southern Pines. I spent six months monitoring conservation easements, writing baseline documentation reports, and talking to landowners about conservation. I love the Sandhills, the rich history, the smell of pine smoke, even the sweltering summers, but the academic itch was getting the best of me. In August 2008 I entered a graduate program in Ecology at UNC Chapel Hill.
  • My masters work built on the relationships that I formed while working for SALT. In collaboration with the North Carolina Sandhills Conservation Partnership, my lab group and I developed GIS tools to help land managers incorporate landscape connectivity considerations into environmental planning. In August 2011, I moved to Atlanta, GA to live with my long-time partner and work as a high-school teacher at The Howard School .
  • In the summer of 2012, my wife Lizza and I moved to Seattle, WA, where I am a PhD student in the Biology department at the University of Washington working with Janneke Hille Ris Lambers. My current research is about the evolutionary ecology of plant ranges, phenologies, and responses to climate.
  • In the fall of 2016 I moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I will be finishing up my PhD work as a visiting student at Harvard and Boston University, where I’m working with the Land Cover and Surface Climate Group.
Kitty and Ian