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Goldstein, Bob

December 14, 2023

We are interested in understanding how cells develop into organisms. We love the nematode C. elegans, because it allows us to readily combine a great number of useful techniques, including techniques of cell biology, direct manipulation of cells, forward and reverse genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, biophysics, and live imaging of cells and their dynamic, cytoskeletal components. Current work in the lab addresses several fundamental questions in cell and developmental biology — how cells move to specific positions during development, how cells change shape, how developmental patterning mechanisms tell cell biological mechanisms what to do where and when, how intercellular signals act to polarize cells, and how the mitotic spindle is positioned in cells.

We have also been developing a relative of C. elegans and Drosophila, a water bear (tardigrade), to study how developmental mechanisms can evolve to produce organisms with different forms and how biological materials can survive unusual extremes.

C. elegans and tardigrades

Riddell, Eric

August 17, 2023

Our lab uses physiology to understand how animals respond to environmental change. Our research blends experimental biology with simulation-based computer models to identify the physiological processes driving species’ distributions, extinction, and adaptation. The approach requires insight from behavior, physiology, and physics, providing an integrative perspective into organismal biology. Through the synthesis of these disciplines, we provide a comprehensive understanding of organisms, from genes to geographic ranges, while improving our capacity to predict the impact of climate change.

Weakley, Alan S.

September 6, 2011

I am a plant systematist, plant community ecologist, biogeographer, and conservation biologist focused on the species and systems of the Southeastern United States.  Students in my lab focus on the systematics and biogeography of the Southeastern United States, community classification developing the U.S. National Vegetation Classification, and land management, conservation planning, and environmental policy questions involving the conservation of Southeastern United States ecosystems and species. Prior to coming to UNC in 2002, I had an extensive career in applied conservation biology, working with the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, The Nature Conservancy, and NatureServe (the Association for Biodiversity Information).  My conservation interests and activities continue, with my service as Trustee of the N.C. Natural Heritage Trust Fund ( from 2008-2013 (which has provided $328 million through 518 grants to support the conservation of more than 298,000 acres of natural areas in North Carolina), Chair of the N.C. Plant Conservation Program’s Scientific Advisory Committee (, and Chair of the N.C. Natural Heritage Program Advisory Committee ( I am the author of Flora of the Southern & Mid-Atlantic States (, a taxonomic manual covering about 7000 vascular plant taxa, now the standard in use across much of the Southeastern United States.  With J. Chris Ludwig and Johnny Townsend, I am co-author of the Flora of Virginia (, published in 2012 and awarded the Thomas Jefferson Award for Conservation, and am also an active author, editor, reviewer, and director of the Flora of North America project (  I was a co-founder of the Carolina Vegetation Survey (, and continue as one of its four organizers.

Hurlbert, Allen

July 14, 2011

In the Hurlbert Lab we ask questions about the structure of ecological communities, and the processes that are responsible for determining the patterns of diversity, composition, turnover and relative abundance both within local assemblages and across the globe. Our work spans vertebrate, invertebrate, and plant communities, and we use a variety of approaches from manipulative experiments to modeling to working with global scale datasets. Current projects in the lab use

“Ecological patterns, about which we construct theories, are only interesting if they are repeated. They may be repeated in space or in time, and they may be repeated from species to species. A pattern which has all of these kinds of repetition is of special interest because of its generality, and yet these very general events are only seen by ecologists with rather blurred vision. The very sharp-sighted always find discrepancies and are able to say that there is no generality, only a spectrum of special cases. This diversity of outlook has proved useful in every science, but it is nowhere more marked than in ecology.”

–Robert MacArthur, 1968

Wiley, R. Haven

June 28, 2011

My research has focused on field studies of complex social behavior by birds and other animals. Topics have included long-range vocal communication by temperate and tropical birds, vocal communication in noisy conditions (colonies, choruses, rainforests), sexual conflict and monogamy in territorial birds, sexual selection in polygynous mating systems and leks, site-specific dominance in wintering birds, and cooperative breeding in tropical wrens.
Continuing themes in all of these studies are age-dependent behavior, recognition of individuals, and impacts of noise on communication. My goal is to understand the complexity of animal social behavior … especially communication.
Facilities for this research include up-to-date equipment for recording, display, and synthesis of acoustic signals. My students, postdoctoral associates, and I have conducted field research both locally and far afield, including throughout the American tropics.
For more information, including publications, see

Bruno, John

June 28, 2011

Our research group is based in the Department of Biology at the The University at North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The research in our lab is focused on understanding and conserving the structure and dynamics of ocean ecosystems. We work in a variety of marine habitats including coral reefs, coastal wetland communities, oyster reefs and seagrass beds. Current projects include investigations of herbivory in the Galapagos Islands and Belize, the lionfish invasion of the Caribbean, patterns and dynamics of coral reef decline and recovery, the importance of predator biodiversity in estuarine food webs, salt marsh ecology and restoration, the effectiveness of tropical marine protected areas.

Make sure to visit our research blog, SeaMonster.

Lohmann, Kenneth J.

June 24, 2011

Our lab group is interested in the behavior, sensory biology, neuroethology, and conservation of marine animals. Topics of particular interest include: (1) the navigation of long-distance ocean migrants such as sea turtles, salmon, spiny lobsters, and elephant seals; (2) magnetic field perception, magnetic maps, and use of the Earth’s magnetic field in animal navigation; (3) natal homing and the geomagnetic imprinting hypothesis in sea turtles and salmon; (4) applications of sensory ecology and movement ecology to conservation biology; (5) neurobiology, behavior, and physiology of marine invertebrates; (6) marine ecosystems and animal health in the Galapagos Islands.  Techniques used range from electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry, and electrophysiology to behavioral studies, oceanographic modeling, and field studies in the ocean. Whenever possible, we favor innovative approaches that cut across traditional academic boundaries and combine elements from disparate fields.