Jonathan B. Thayn, Ph.D.

I grew up in a relatively small coal-mining community in southeastern Utah, halfway between the Book Cliff Mountains and the desert of the San Rafael Swell. My interest in geography first took root as I hiked, explored and camped with my family and friends in the wilderness around my home. Fieldwork continues to be a principal element of my research, which focuses on understanding landscape-scale ecosystems, their response to perturbation, and their seasonal variations. My primary tools are remote sensing, GIS and statistical spatial analysis.

I am a proponent of research-based learning. My remote sensing and biogeography courses are built around research projects. Students typically complete the bulk of the project during the semester with the goal of submitting the completed work to scientific peer-review. This holds students’ attention, introduces them to research and the value of the material discussed in class, and introduces a sense of authenticity to coursework. Smaller research projects are used in my geography of Latin America course.

Illinois State University

Department of Geography-Geology

200A Felmley Science Hall

Normal, Illinois 44067


Photography by Mary Thayn

Portrait by Lucy Thayn