We are a research team focused on illuminating the mechanisms that maintain biodiversity in nature and using our understanding to forecast how ecological systems will respond to our changing world. Our approach is broad, bringing together field & lab experiments, natural history, statistics, math, and code.

We are based in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology at North Carolina State University. During the field season, you may also find us crouched among the wildflowers at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab or knee-deep in a peat bog at the University of Michigan Biological Station.

Research projects

Dynamics, diversity, & function of microbial food webs

What allows species to persist in complex networks of species interactions?

Forecasting population dynamics in changing environments

How will populations behave when the new normal keeps changing?

Global-scale ecology

How do global-scale data change the way we understand ecological systems?

Spatial structure of biodiversity

Why does species diversity and composition differ from place to place?

The Team

Click a person for their research interests, CV, and contact info

Group leader


Will Petry

Assistant Professor

Graduate students


Melina Keighron

Ph.D. student

Urban ecology, Plant-pollinator interactions, Population dynamics



Maggie Zeh

Summer undergraduate student, RMBL (2021)



Eddie Peabody

Field tech, RMBL (2021)


Hope Anderson

Field tech, RMBL (2021)



Ewa Merz

Masters student, ETH Zurich (2018)


Jack Snow

Field tech, RMBL (2018-2020)


Lucy Zhang

Undergrad, RMBL (2020)


Sydney Peterson

Undergrad, RMBL (2020)


Val Watson

Field tech, RMBL (2018-2019)


Don’t have access to a PDF? Contact me.

Global gene flow releases invasive plants from environmental constraints on genetic diversity

Abstract When plants establish outside their native range, their ability to adapt to the new environment is influenced by both demography and dispersal.

Global predation pressure redistribution under future climate change

Abstract How climate affects biotic interactions is a question of urgent concern.


Why DICE Lab?


  1. n. A small, usually cube-shaped object with sides displaying a different numeral or number of spots, typically used in games of chance.
  2. v. Cut into small cubes.
  3. v. (Latin) present singular imperative form of the verb dicere, to say or tell, as in the commands “Say!” and “Tell!”

“DICE” is a convenient acronym for our lab name, but it also speaks to the fundamental aims of what we do. First, our research is motivated to understand biodiversity responses to environmental change, transforming uncertainty into accurate understanding. Second, we tackle ecological complexity by breaking problems into component parts, understanding how each functions in turn and how they fit together to build the whole. Finally, the word in Latin invokes our responsibility as scientists to share what we learn and to engage fully in building more just, equitable, and sustainable world.