Dr. James E. Byers


I have broad ecological research interests that involve the study of species interactions in nearshore, estuarine, and marsh environments. The majority of my research focuses on quantitatively measuring impacts of non-indigenous species on native biota in invaded marine communities. Interactions with non-native species are the second leading cause of endangerment and extinction of native species.

Therefore, I have sought to develop and implement new quantitative tools that

1) aid our understanding of how and when invading species will impact native systems and

2) help increase our ability to predict outcomes of future invasions.

Some of my additional projects and interests include the study of:

Effects of parasites on communities and species interactions

Habitat modifying species and other ecosystem engineers

Physical-biological coupling in estuaries

Biogeographic patterns of species’ ranges

Conservation biology issues, such as:

Design and function of marine reserves

Development of biological indicators for detection of environmental perturbations


I approach all of my projects with experimental manipulations and modeling, and in general, I strongly advocate for incorporating quantitative approaches in ecological studies whenever possible. In many of my field experiments I have utilized molluscs and crustaceans as study organisms, because these groups are well suited to experimental manipulation and typically associated with a wide range of parasites.

My interests in ecology extend beyond those in which I am currently involved. I welcome graduate students with a strong work ethic who are eager to address ecological questions with quantitative rigor and innovation. I push students into developing strong, independent, creative ideas and I stress the importance of placing research into a broad context that is relevant to important ecological and conservation questions.