School of Biological and Chemical Sciences


Ralph H Riley

Academic Background

  • 1992 PhD “Nutrient dynamics and nitrogen trace gas flux during ecosystem development in montane rainforest” Stanford University, USA
  • 1982 BSc Forestry, University of Washington, USA.

Positions Held

  • 2002-11 Western Washington University, USA. Adjunct faculty.
  • 2002-06 Earthwatch Institute, USA.  Field Director.
  • 2000-02 Western Washington University, USA. Director, Off-Campus Environmental Studies.
  • 1996-00 University of Otago, USA. Post-doctoral Research Fellow.
  • 1993-94 National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, USA. Forest Scientist.

My research interests include:

  • Interactions between species and how these are modified by environmental conditions
  • Effects of climate change, invasive species and environmental disturbances on ecosystems
  • Land-use effects on freshwater systems


I am course co-ordinator for:

  • BI201 General Ecology
  • BI206 Quantitative Biology



  • Dolédec, S., N. Phillips, M. Scarsbrook, R.H. Riley, & Colin R. Townsend (2006).  Comparison of structural and functional approaches to determining landuse effects on grassland stream invertebrate communities.  Journal of the North American Benthological Society 25:44-60.
  • Riley, R.H., C.R. Townsend, D. Raffaelli & A. Flecker (2004) Sources and effects of subsidies along the stream-estuary continuum. In Food webs at the landscape level.  Editors: G.A. Polis, M.E. Power and G.R. Huxel.  University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.  Pages 241-260.
  • Riley, R.H. & R.L. Jefferies (2004) Subsidy dynamics and global change. In Food webs at the landscape level.  Editors: G.A. Polis, M.E. Power and G.R. Huxel.  University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.
  • Riley, R.H., C.R. Townsend, D.K. Niyogi, C.A. Arbuckle & K.A. Peacock (2003) Headwater stream response to grassland agricultural development in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 37:389-403.
  • Huryn, A.D., R. Riley, R.G. Young, K. Peacock, C.J. Arbuckle (2002) Natural-abundance stable C and N isotopes indicate weak upstream-downstream linkage of consumer food webs in a river-floodplain system. Archiv für Hydrobiologie 153:177-196.
  • R.M.Thompson, C.R.Townsend, D.Craw, R.Frew and R.Riley (2001) Further links from rocks to plants: potential for ectomycorrhizal fungi to mobilize nitrogen from minerals. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 16:543.
  •  Hall, M.J., Closs, G.P. & R.H. Riley (2001) Relationships between land-use and stream invertebrate community structure in a South Island, coastal stream catchment.  New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 35: 591-603
  • Huryn, A.D., R.H. Riley, R.G. Young, C.J. Arbuckle, K. Peacock, and G. Lyon (2001) Temporal shift in contribution of terrestrial organic matter to consumer production in a grassland river. Freshwater Biology 46:213-226.
  • Riley, R.H. & P.M. Vitousek (2000) Hurricane effects on nitrogen trace gas emissions in Hawaiian montane rainforest.  BioTropica 32:195-199.
  • Townsend, C.A. & R.H. Riley (1999) Assessment of river integrity - accounting for perturbation pathways in physical and ecological space.  Freshwater Biology 41:393-405
  • Riley, R.H., C. Mitchell & J. Thorp (1998) UV and stream ecology. In UV radiation and its effects: an update. National Science Strategy Committee for Climate Change Workshop, Christchurch, December 1997. The Royal Society of New Zealand. Miscellaneous Publications 49.  1998.
  • Griffiths, R.P., P.S. Homann, and R. Riley (1998) Denitrification enzyme activity of Douglas-fir and red alder forest soils of the Pacific Northwest. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 30:1147-1157.
  • Potter, C.S., R.H. Riley & S.A. Klooster (1997) Simulation modeling of nitrogen trace gas emissions along an age gradient of tropical forest soils.  Ecological Modeling 97, 179-196.
  • Riley, R.H., M. Schuft, D.L. Phillips & M.C. Garcia (1997) Resolution and error in measuring land cover change: effects on estimating net carbon release from Mexican terrestrial ecosystems.  International Journal of Remote Sensing 18(1):121-137.
  • Riley, R.H. & M. Schuft (1995) Mexico Case Study In Cairns, M, A., T.P. Kolchugina, D.P. Turner & J.K. Winjum. The Contribution of Forest Land Use to Total National Carbon Flux: Case Studies in the Former Soviet Union, United States, Mexico, and Brazil.  US EPA EPA/600/R-95/044.  
  • Riley, R.H. (1996) Process-level regulation of nitrogen trace gas flux in Hawaiian montane rainforest Soil Biology and Biochemistry 28:1251-1260.
  • Crews, T.E., K. Kitayama, J.H. Fownes, R.H. Riley, D.A. Herbert, D. Mueller-Dombois & P. M. Vitousek (1995) Changes in soil phosphorus fractions and ecosystem dynamics across a long chronosequence in Hawaii. Ecology 76:1407-1424.
  • Riley, R.H. & P. M. Vitousek (1995) Nutrient dynamics and nitrogen trace gas flux during ecosystem development in montane rainforest.  Ecology 76(1):292-304.
  • Raich, J.W., R.H. Riley & P.M. Vitousek (1994) Use of root ingrowth cores to assess nutrient limitations in forest ecosystems.  Canadian Journal of Forest Research.  24:2135-2138.
  • Davidson, E.A., P.A. Matson, P.M. Vitousek, R. Riley, K. Dunkin, G. García-Méndez  & J. M. Maass (1993) Processes Regulating Soil Emissions of NO and N2O in a Seasonally Dry Tropical Forest.  Ecology 74(1):130-139.
  • Davidson, E.A., P.M. Vitousek, P.A. Matson, R. Riley, G. Garcia & J.M. Maass (1991)  Soil Emissions of Nitric Oxide in a Seasonally Dry Tropical Forest of Mexico. Journal of Geophysical Research 96:15439‑15445
  • Riley, R.H. (2010) Report to the USFS and Tulalip Tribes on the Segelsen Ridge Huckleberry Enhancement Response Monitoring Report.
  • Riley, R.H. (2004-06) Report to the USFS and Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group on stream channel surveys and riparian conditions in the Skagit River Basin
  • Riley, R.H. & D.W. Cole (1995) Report to the Superintendent of Wastewater Facilities, City of Bremerton, on five years of forest growth following biosolids application. University of Washington

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