Eric DeChaine , PhD

Professor · he/him/his


I am a naturalist at heart, striving to better understand the natural world: the diversity of species, their environments, and their interactions. Unfortunately, we are currently losing biological diversity faster than at any time in human history. So, my challenge is twofold: 1) to survey the natural world now with the hopes of understanding and conserving biodiversity and the underlying processes that have given rise to it and 2) to foster a natural curiosity and enjoyment of nature in young people so they grow into lifelong stewards of the environment.

Educational & Professional Experience


  • 2003, Ph. D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • 1995, M. S. Zoology, University of Hawaii, Manoa
  • 1991, B. S. Biology, University California, San Diego



  • 2016 - present, Professor of Biology, WWU
  • 2006 - present, Curator of the Pacific Northwest Herbarium (WWB)
  • 2011 - 2016, Associate Professor of Biology, WWU
  • 2006 - 2011, Assistant Professor of Biology, WWU
  • 2004 - 2006, NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University

Recent Publications

Wershow, ST, EG DeChaine. 2018. Retreat to refugia: Severe habitat contraction projected for endemic alpine plants of the Olympic Peninsula. American Journal of Botany.

Bloom, TDS, A Flower, EG DeChaine. 2017. Why georeferencing matters: Introducing a practical protocol to prepare species occurrence records for spatial analysis. Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.3516

DeChaine EG, BM Wendling, and BR Forester. 2014. Integrating environmental, molecular, and morphological data to unravel an ice-age radiation of arctic-alpine Campanula in western North America. Ecology and Evolution. doi:10.1002/ece3.1168.

DeChaine EG. 2014. Introducing the Spotted Saxifrages: Saxifraga sect. Bronchiales, sect. nov. (Saxifragaceae). Rhodora 116: 25-40.

Metcalf JL, Prost S, Nogués-Bravo D, DeChaine EG, Anderson C, Batra P, Araújo MB, Cooper A, Guralnick RP. 2014. Integrating multiple lines of evidence into historical biogeography hypothesis testing: A Bison bison case study. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 281: 20132782.

DeChaine EG, BR Forester**, H Schaefer, and CC Davis. 2013. Deep genetic divergence between disjunct refugia in the arctic-alpine King's Crown, Rhodiola integrifolia (Crassulaceae). PloS ONE 8: e79451.

DeChaine EG, SA Anderson*, JM McNew*, and BM Wendling. 2013. On the Evolutionary and Biogeographic History of Saxifraga sect. Trachyphyllum (Gaud.) Koch (Saxifragaceae Juss.). PloS ONE 8(7): e69814. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069814.

Forester BR**, EG DeChaine, and AG Bunn. 2013. Integrating ensemble species distribution modelling and statistical phylogeography to inform projections of climate change impacts on species distributions. Diversity and Distributions doi: 10.1111/ddi.12098.

Wendling BM**, KE Galbreath, and EG DeChaine. 2011. Resolving the evolutionary history of Campanula (Campanulaceae) in western North America. PLoS ONE 6: e23559.

Galbreath KE, J. Cook, AA Eddingsaas, and EG DeChaine. 2011. Diversity and demography in Beringia: multi-locus tests of paleodistribution models reveal the complex history for arctic ground squirrels. Evolution 65: 1879-1896.

* undergraduate student coauthors, ** graduate student coauthors