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Ray Dybzinski, PhD

Title/s:  Associate Professor

Specialty Area: Applied Plant Biology

Office #:  BVM Hall 312

Phone: 773.508.2486


CV Link: Dybzinski CV


Dybzinski is an applied plant biologist with expertise both in the mathematical representation of complex natural and anthropogenically-forced systems (such as forests, farm fields, and grasslands) and in the connections between ecological theory, observations, and experiments. He's striving to understand why plants have the traits that they do and how those traits will affect the pace of climate change. He uses his understanding of the evolutionary and ecological forces that structure plant communities to devise agricultural practices that are more sustainable and supportive of ecosystem services.


  • PhD, Ecology, University of Minnesota, 2007
  • BS, Physics, BA, Philosophy, Northern Illinois University, 1998

Research Interests

Dybzinski's research is defined by the unique combination of three features. First, there's a synthetic view of complex biological systems that incorporates the importance of individual plant performance from a physiological perspective, between-individual interactions from a community perspective, biogeochemical feedbacks from an ecosystem perspective, and fitness impacts from an evolutionary perspective (using, notably, game theory). Second, he uses a modeling framework that includes all of these facets in a mechanistic and quantitative way, yet remains simple enough to afford clear mathematical insight. Third, he informs and rigorously tests his theoretical work with quantitative empirical data from the greenhouse, from the field, and from large-scale datasets.

Professional & Community Affiliations

  • Grant Reviewer: National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, NSF Long Term Ecological Studies
  • Manuscript Reviewer: PNAS, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, The American Naturalist, Ecology Letters, Ecology, Journal of Ecology, Ecological Monographs, New Phytologist, Oecologia, Oikos, Biogeosciences, Theoretical Ecology, Ecosystems, Ecological Modelling, Ecological Research, Biotropica, International Journal of Plant Sciences, Journal of Plant Ecology, The Ecological and Social Consequences of Changes in Biodiversity, Canadian Journal of Botany, European Journal of Soil Biology, The Journal of the
    Torrey Botanical Society, Journal of Management for Global Sustainability

Courses Taught

  • ENVS 326: Agroecosystems
  • ENVS 280: Principles of Ecology
  • ENVS 286: Principles of Ecology Lab


  • Nominated for Faculty of the Year, Loyola University Chicago (2017)
  • Nominated for Langerbeck Faculty Mentor Award (2017)
  • Loyola Faculty Development Summer Research Stipend. $7000 “Moving critical empirical research in fossil carbon sequestrations and sustainable agriculture forward with a flexible game theoretic model of plant interactions.”(2016)

Selected Publications

  • Weng, E, CE Farrior, R Dybzinski, SW Pacala. 2017. Predicting vegetation type through physiological and environmental interactions with leaf traits: evergreen and deciduous forests in an earth system modeling framework. Global Change Biology 23, 2482–2498.
  • Landrum, N, R Dybzinski, A Smajlovic, B M Ohsowski. 2016. Managing for Resilience: Lessons from Ecology. Journal of Management for Global Sustainability 3: 75-99.
  • Weng, E, S Malyshev, J W Lichstein, C E Farrior, R Dybzinski, T Zhang, E Shevliakova, S W Pacala. 2015. Scaling from individual trees to forests in an Earth system modeling framework using a mathematically tractable model of height-structured competition. Biogeosciences 12: 2655-2694. DOI:10.5194/bg-12-2655-2015

For a complete list of publications, awards and affiliations, please view his CV.