VCU's River Campus

The VCU Rice Rivers Center, a part of VCU Life Sciences, supports scholarship and student instruction across diverse disciplines, including water resources, climate science, wildlife conservation and wetlands restoration.

Located midway between Richmond and Williamsburg, Virginia along the historic James River, our 360 acres of riparian marshes, tidal creeks and mature forests represent a unique outdoor laboratory for important applied research and innovative, experiential classes. The center’s modern facilities offer offices, classrooms, laboratories and overnight lodging for students, faculty, visiting scholars and community groups. State-of-the-art technologies are deployed onsite to collect information on air and water quality, fish and avian migrations, changing sea levels and a host of other critical data sources. Our ongoing partnerships with state and federal natural resource and earth science agencies provide significant training opportunities for student scholars.

Science that matters to everyone


students and faculty looking at instrument panel on grass outside

Dec. 14, 2022

Application window open for summer undergraduate internship with NASA

Deadline for submission is January 30, 2023

Woman on the banks of the water with blue gloves on performing an experiment with the water

Oct. 26, 2022

Mary Coughter, Ph.D. candidate, subject of VPM film

The film focuses on her research on microorganisms in the James River.

Person on dock speaking to people in kayaks on the water

July 5, 2022

Footprints on the James focus of VCU News Exposure article

Kayaks. Campfires. Microscopes. Students soaked up knowledge of the James River’s natural history and biodiversity over five adventure-filled weeks.

Research and Restoration

a warbler perched atop someone's hand

VCU researchers and partners study the breeding biology of the prothonotary warbler along the lower James River using the project and its data to explore population genetics, disease and migration ecology, the role of song and plumage in reproductive fitness, and the impact of climate change on diet and timing of breeding.