Rice Rivers Research


Our main focus is research — specifically on rivers and their watersheds. At the heart of this work is the broad and scenic James River.

Explore our research

Visit VCU Scholars Compass

View our datasets

Visit our folder on Google Drive for data on aerials, birds, bugs, cultural history and more. You can also view our data use policy.

For assistance accesing information related to our programs, please contact VCU Rice Rivers Center at 804-827-1164 or

Research at the Virginia Commonwealth University Rice Rivers Center fosters and advances environmental sciences and is key to addressing the mission of the center. We provide a home for VCU and partner scientists to conduct studies and innovative conservation methods.

Much of our research focuses on large river ecosystems, their riparian habitats and associated wetlands. Our unique location on a tidal freshwater section of the James River helps us specialize in multiple areas of study: wetlands restoration, anadromous fishes, nutrient dynamics and plankton in river food chains, the ecology of freshwater tidal creeks and public health issues concerning waterborne disease.

We study terrestrial plant and animal communities, too. This includes landscape ecology and related land management issues. 


Conducting research at the VCU Rice Rivers Center

Interested in conducting research at the VCU Rice Rivers Center?

The Rice Rivers Center offers a variety of resources that may be leveraged by Rice Rivers researchers, from the natural environment to established long term study datasets to technology. 

For information on conducting research at the Rice Rivers Center, contact us at or at 804-827-5600. 

If you would like to request permission to conduct research at Rice Rivers, please review the Rice Rivers Center Data Management Plan fill out the online research request form and submit a copy of your research proposal via email to

Annual research symposium

Every year, scientists, students, laypeople and press gather at the VCU Rice Rivers Center to discuss the latest findings of the center’s many research projects. At this annual research symposium, presentations are made by research faculty and students, covering subjects from all four major research foci: conservation biology, wetlands, water quality and technology.  Visit VCU Scholars Compass to explore the research symposium topics. 

Greg Garman
“Through the Rice Rivers Center, VCU has established a nationally recognized academic program focused on large river ecology, conservation and management. This has been achieved because of the exceptional qualities of the center, effective regional and national partnerships and VCU's academic assets in the environmental sciences.” — Greg Garman, Ph.D., director, VCU Rice Rivers Center