VCU Rice Center

Researcher with sturgeon


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

The leading mission of the Rice Center is to support research activities that advance our knowledge of the environmental and ecological sciences. The center provides a site for VCU researchers and scientists from other institutions and agencies to conduct research on a wide variety of topics. 

Much of our research is focused on large river ecosystems, their riparian habitats and associated wetlands. It includes studies on wetlands restoration, anadromous fishes, nutrient dynamics and the role of plankton in the food chains of the James River, the ecology of the freshwater tidal creeks along the river and waterborne public health issues.

The center also provides opportunities for research on terrestrial plant and animal communities, as well as landscape ecology and conservation issues. The Center for Conservation Biology has a mission focused on avian conservation and management issues and is the premier avian research unit in the mid-Atlantic region.

Greg Garman, Ph.D.

“Through the Rice Center, VCU has the unprecedented opportunity to establish a nationally recognized academic program focused on large river ecology, conservation and management. That vision is achievable because of the exceptional qualities of the VCU Rice Center, the opportunities for effective regional and national partnerships and VCU’s academic assets in the environmental sciences.”

Greg Garman, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Environmental Studies
Associate Professor of Biology
Virginia Commonwealth University