Jim Ehleringer portrait
  • Distinguished Professor, School Of Biological Sciences
  • Director, Stable Isotope Ratio Facility for Environmental Research, School Of Biological Sciences
  • Adjunct Professor, Geology & Geophysics

Research Summary

Ecology and the environment, sustainability, climate change, stable isotopes


  • B.S, Biology, San Diego State University
  • M.S., Biology, San Diego State University
  • Ph.D., Biology, Stanford University


Jim Ehleringer is a distinguished professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. He joined the faculty in 1977 and is recognized as an expert in ecology. Jim founded the University’s Global Change and Sustainability Center, which serves as the nexus for research, teaching, and outreach for global change and sustainability activities. His research focuses on ecological, environmental, and forensic applications using naturally occurring stable isotopes (nature’s natural recorders). He has advanced science by training dozens of graduate students and postdocs during his career and publishing over 500 scientific articles and books. For over twenty years, Jim and colleagues have offered IsoCamp, a summer training opportunity for graduate students from across the United States and from around the world to learn about stable isotope biogeochemistry and ecology through lectures and laboratory experiences.

Jim was elected as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and has been recognized for his scientific contributions as recipient of the Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence and election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America. For teaching and student mentoring, Jim was awarded both the American Geophysical Union’s international Excellence in Earth and Space Sciences Teaching Award and the University’s Student’s Choice in Teaching Award. He co-founded a spinoff company, IsoForensics Inc., to apply stable isotope analyses in forensics, ranging from hair analyses to trace the origins of unidentified murder victims to food analyses to identify adulterated foods.

Jim and his wife Edna moved to Utah in the late 1970’s, where they both established educational careers, raised a family, and put down roots. Edna was a teacher and administrator in the Jordan, Granite, and Salt Lake City School Districts. She earned a Bachelors Degree at San Diego State University and a Masters Degree at Utah State University. During Edna’s career, she received numerous awards for her contributions and administrative skills. Together Jim and Edna enjoy fishing, traveling, gardening, and spending time in the Wasatch Mountains. They have two married children. Jeff and his family live in Portland, Oregon, and Josh and his family have settled into Ketchum, Idaho.


Certified Approved Forensic Practitioner, Forensic Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry Network, 2013-present