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James Rice

Emeritus Faculty

Note: Dr. Rice retired January 1, 2019 and is no longer accepting new students or postdocs.


Ph.D., Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1985)
M.S., Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1981)
B.A., Biology, St. Louis University (1978)

Research Interests

Aquatic Ecology and Fisheries Biology

Broadly defined, I am an aquatic ecologist. Throughout my career I have focused my research on questions at the interface of basic and applied ecology with the intent to advance our collective knowledge of how aquatic ecosystems function, while also contributing to our ability to effectively manage and restore them. Most, but not all, of my work has been with fishes and their associated habitats and communities. I have used a variety of approaches in my research including field studies, experiments, lab analyses and simulation modeling, and find it most effective to combine multiple approaches whenever feasible. My interests are oriented more to questions than to particular species or systems. As a result, my students and I have worked with a wide variety of organisms and life stages (larval to adult) in systems ranging from ponds, reservoirs and the Great Lakes to streams, large rivers and coastal estuaries. My research often begins with trying to understand how individuals respond behaviorally or physiologically to their environment or community, then considers the cumulative consequences of those interactions at the population level, and sometimes for the whole food web or community. Areas of particular interest to me include predator prey interactions and food web dynamics in aquatic systems; direct and indirect fish responses to hypoxia; bioenergetics modeling of predation and habitat effects; impacts and management of introduced species; factors driving variation in fish tissue mercury concentration, and intersex condition in fishes. Regardless of the topic, my students and I have always considered the “So what?” question. We have formulated our research in ways that would not only increase our ecological understanding, but would also generate applications, or at least implications, for management to address real-world problems.

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