Jody Peters

Program & Community Manager
Ecological Forecasting Initiative (
PalEON (

I joined the McLachlan lab in 2013 as the Project Manager for the NSF-funded PaleoEcological Observatory Network, also known as the PalEON project.  For that project, I coordinate a diverse group of paleoecologists, environmental statisticians, and ecosystem modelers working to integrate historical ecological data into current ecosystem models to refine our understanding of global environmental change.  I also work with graduate students and undergraduate researchers in the McLachlan lab to reconstruct settlement-era vegetation in Indiana and Illinois from Public Land Survey data. We use a mix of GIS and web-based collection and analysis tools. You can track our progress on our project google site.

In 2019 I also become the Community Manager for the Ecological Forecasting Initiative (EFI) which is a grassroots community aimed at building and supporting an interdisciplinary community of practice around ecological forecasts.  We currently have funding from NSF for a Research Coordination Network to create a community of practice that builds capacity for ecological forecasting by leveraging National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) data products. We also have funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to work with partners at Minority Serving Institutions to co-product educational materials related to forecasting and data science that are culturally relevant to historically marginalized groups. My role is to coordinate the EFI members, working group meetings, large workshops, and other strategic initiatives across both the RCN and the larger EFI efforts.

I completed my PhD in invasion biology and aquatic ecology at Notre Dame in 2010.  I studied the distribution and interactions of native and invasive crayfish in the Great Lakes region.  After receiving my PhD and over the past couple of years I have worked at Notre Dame’s Career Center as a Career Advisor to graduate and undergraduate science and engineering students by providing individual assistance and workshops to explore career options and create job application materials. Although I am not currently working in an official role at the Notre Dame Career Center, I still enjoy helping individuals think about future career goals.  

Email: peters[dot]63[at]nd[dot]edu