Ecology & Population Biology

Ecology is the scientific study of the distribution and abundance of organisms, the interaction among organisms, and the interactions between organisms and their abiotic environment. Ecologists try to understand the inner workings of natural ecosystems and the species they contain. In fact, the Ecology faculty at Duke University span the complete range of ecological inquiry, from individual organisms to populations and communities of interacting species to ecosystems to the entire biosphere.

Susan C. Alberts

Robert F. Durden Professor of Biology

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Emily S. Bernhardt

Jerry G. and Patricia Crawford Hubbard Professor

I am an ecosystem ecologist and biogeochemist whose research is principally concerned with tracking the movement of elements through ecological systems. My research aims to document the extent to which the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems is being altered by land use change (... Full Profile »

James S. Clark

Nicholas Professor of Environmental Science

James S. Clark is Nicholas Professor of the Nicholas School of the Environment  and Professor of Statistical Science. Clark’s research focuses on how global change affects populations, communities, and ecosystems. Current projects explore consequences of climate, CO2, and disturbance on dynamics... Full Profile »

Kathleen Donohue

Professor of Biology

We investigate the genetic basis of adaptation, including the evolution of phenotypic plasticity and maternal effects, the adaptive value of epigenetic modifications, niche construction, dispersal, and mechanisms of multilevel natural selection. Full Profile »

Sonke Johnsen

Professor in the Department of Biology

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Thomas Mitchell-Olds

Newman Ivey White Professor of Biology in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

We study genetic variation in plant populations, focusing on genes that influence traits controlling plant performance in an environmental context – a central theme throughout our research in natural and agricultural populations. Much of our work is focused on the genes that affect ecological... Full Profile »

William F. Morris

Professor of Biology

Bill Morris studies the population ecology of plants and insects (both herbivores and pollinators). Current projects include: the population dynamic consequences of constitutive and inducible resistance in plants, the... Full Profile »

Alexander Motten

Associate Professor of the Practice Emeritus of Biology

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Stephen Nowicki

Professor of Biology

Our lab studies animal communication and sexual selection from an integrative perspective that includes a wide range of behavioral ecological, neuroethological, developmental, genetic, and evolutionary approaches. Birds are our most common model system, but we also have worked with insects, spiders... Full Profile »

Mark D. Rausher

John Carlisle Kilgo Professor of Biology

We investigate the evolutionary processes that cause change at both the phenotypic and genetic levels. We have particular interests in the genetic basis of adaptation and in the evolution of metabolic pathways. Our approaches include molecular dissection of ecologically important phenotypes and... Full Profile »

Chantal D. Reid

Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Division of Environmental Sciences and Policy

As a physiological ecologist, my primary interests are to understand how environmental stresses on leaf gas exchange and plant carbon allocation control carbon gain, plant growth and reproduction. My research focuses on environmental factors likely to be affected by global change, particularly... Full Profile »

James F. Reynolds

Professor Emeritus

Integrated assessment of complex human-environmental systems; Land degradation and desertification in global drylands; Conceptual frameworks and models to advance the science of dryland development Full Profile »

Julie Reynolds

Associate Professor of the Practice of the Department of Biology

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Marcy K. Uyenoyama

Professor of Biology

Marcy Uyenoyama studies mechanisms of evolutionary change at the molecular and population levels. Among the questions under study include the prediction and detection of the effects of natural selection on genomic structure. A major area of research addresses the development of maximum-likelihood... Full Profile »

John H. Willis

Professor of Biology

We conduct research on broad issues in evolutionary genetics, and we are currently addressing questions relating to the evolution of adaptation, reproductive isolation, breeding systems, inbreeding depression, and... Full Profile »

William G. Wilson

Associate Professor of Biology

For my physics Ph.D. work on condensed matter theory, I used computer simulations and mathematics. I transferred those skills to theoretical evolutionary ecology, and earned tenure in the Duke Zoology department. The lack of funding for that research precluded promotion at Duke, and I directed my... Full Profile »

Justin Prouty Wright

Associate Professor in the Department of Biology

My research focuses on understanding the causes and consequences of patterns of biological diversity across the planet. I am particularly interested in two broad questions: 1)How does the modification of the environment by organisms affect community structure and ecosystem function? and 2) what... Full Profile »