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William Petry

Assistant Professor

Department of Plant & Microbial Biology

North Carolina State University


I study the ecological mechanisms that maintain biodiversity within populations and communities, with a particular focus on how changes in the environment affect species persistence and coexistence. I seek a process-based understanding of diversity patterns of diversity in nature that builds up from simple ingredients: how the growth, survival, reproduction, and recruitment of individual organisms changes depending on their interactions with individuals of their own species, of other species, and the abiotic environment. I am interested in the ways that these fundamental process rates aggregate to determine the trajectories of populations and communities, and how variation in these local-scale phenomena in turn aggregate to produce large-scale spatial pattern of biodiversity. Likewise in time, I am exploring the ability of process-based models to forecast the near-term future states of populations and communities with the aim of improving our capacity to anticipate and mitigate ecological responses to environmental change.