Jim Thorp

Jim Thorp
  • Senior Scientist
  • Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


B.A. in Zoology, University of Kansas, 1970
M.S. in Zoology, North Carolina State University, 1973
Ph.D. in Zoology, North Carolina State University, 1975


Jim retired at the end of 2023, with many writing projects under way and planned.

His research interests focus on the ecology of rivers at the community to macrosystem levels. He uses diverse research approaches (conceptual, field experimental and descriptive techniques) to answer fundamental and applied environmental questions. Within the fundamental research area, he is most interested in food web ecology and the effects of hydrogeomorphic fluctuations on the structure and functioning of riverine landscapes from the community to the full landscape level. His lab group is examining carbon sources and trophic relationships in food webs using CSIA-AA and bulk tissue techniques, analyses of fish traits, and the role of methane in rivers. He is also examining fundamental properties of riverine macrosystems from conceptual perspectives. Jim is very active in developing a 10- to 12-volume set of taxonomic keys to freshwater invertebrates in different bioregions of the world, as part of the series “Thorp and Covich’s Freshwater Invertebrates.” 

Research interests:

  • Aquatic community, ecosystem and macrosystem ecology