Volker H. W. Rudolf

Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Rice University

6100 Main Street, Houston, TX, 77005, USA

Phone: (713) 348-2834

E-Mail: volker.rudolf (at) rice (dot) edu

Research Interests

Community & population ecology; aquatic ecology; ecosystem functioning; climate change; size/stage-structured interactions; complex life-cycles; cannibalism, food webs; multiple-predator interactions; evolution of life-history traits; phenotypic plasticity; population and community dynamics of infectious diseases; developing predictive mathematical models for food webs; evolutionary ecology.


2003-2007 University of Virginia, Department of Biology, PhD in Ecology & Evolution; Advisor: Henry M. Wilbur
2003 Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg; Theodor-Boveri-Institute of Bioscience, Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, Diplom in Biology (MS)
2000 University of Regensburg, Department of Biology, Pre-Diplomin Biology(BS)
1996 Mathematical - Natural Science Gymnasium Mühldorf, Abitur: Double major in Biology and Mathematics

Academic Positions held

2013-present Associate Professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Rice University
2007-2013 Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Rice University


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(Notation: * undergraduate student **graduate student )

V.H.W. Rudolf, N. L. Rasmussen**, C.J. Dibble**, B.G. Van Allen** (in press): Resolving the roles of body size and species identity in driving functional differences among consumers. Proceedings of the Royal Society: B

N. L. Rasmussen**, B. Van Allen**,  V.H.W. Rudolf (in press): Linking phenological shifts to species interactions through size-mediated priority effects. Journal of Animal Ecology

V.H.W. Rudolf & **N. L. Rasmussen (2013): Population structure determines functional differences among species and ecosystems processes. Nature Communications 4:2318 (featered in Science Daily, Futurity)

V.H.W. Rudolf & *M. Singh (2013): Disentangling climate change effects on species interactions: Body size mediates interaction of temperature and phenological shifts. Oecologia 173: 1034-1052

V.H.W. Rudolf & **N. L. Rasmussen (2013): Ontogenetic functional diversity: Size-structure of a keystone predator alters functioning of a complex ecosystem. Ecology 94: 1046-1056

**B.G. Van Allen & V.H.W. Rudolf (2013): Ghost of habitats past: Environmental carry-over effects drive population dynamics in novel habitat. American Naturalist 181: 596-608

*W. Parson, *B. Zhong, V.H.W. Rudolf (2013): Mating status and kin recognition determine cannibalism rates. Animal Behaviour 85: 365-369 (Corresponding author: VHWR)

V.H.W. Rudolf, I. Sorell, A.B. Pedersen (2012): Revenge of the host: Cannibalism, ontogenetic niche shifts, and the evolution of life-history strategies in host-parasitoid systems. Evolutionary Ecology Research 14: 31-49

**B.G. Van Allen, A. E. Dunham, C. M. Asquith, V.H.W. Rudolf (2012): Life history predicts risk of species decline in a stochastic world. Proceedings of the Royal Society London: B Biological Science 279: 2691-2697

V.H.W. Rudolf (2012): Seasonal shifts in body size diversity and trophic interactions in size-structured predator-prey systems. Journal of Animal Ecology 81: 524-523

A.T. Tate & V.H.W. Rudolf (2012): Immune priming across life stages and generations: Implications for infectious disease dynamics in insects. Oikos 121:1083-1092

*P. Delclos & V.H.W. Rudolf (2011): Effects of size structure and habitat complexity on predator-prey interactions.  Ecological Entomology 36: 744-750  (Corresponding author: VHWR)

D.A. Vasseur, P.  Amarasekare, V.H.W. Rudolf, J.M. Levine (2011): Eco-evolutionary dynamics enable coexistence via neighbor-dependent selection. American Naturalist 178: E96-E109

T.E.X. Miller & V.H.W Rudolf(2011): Thinking inside the box: community-level consequences of stage structured populations. Trends In Ecology and Evolution.26: 457-466  (Corresponding author: VHWR)

D.I. Bolnick, P. Amarasekare, M.S. Araújo, R. Bürger, J. Levin, M. Novak, V.H.W. Rudolf, S. Schreiber, M. Urban, D. Vasseur (2011): Why intraspecific variatio matters in community ecology. Trends In Ecology and Evolution 26: 183-192

V.H.W. Rudolf, K. D. Lafferty (2011): Stage Structure alters how complexity affects stability. – Ecology Letters 14: 75-79  (Faculty of 1000 recommended as a “must read” and featured in the public media in ScienceDaily News)

V.H.W. Rudolf, M. Kamo, M. Boots (2010): Cannibals in space: The co-evolution of cannibalism and dispersal in spatially structured populations. American Naturalist 175: 513-524

*A. M. Thomas& V.H.W. Rudolf (2010): Challenges of metamorphosis in invertebrate hosts: Maintaining parasite resistance across life-history stages. Ecological Entomology 35: 200-205

L. Yang & V.H.W. Rudolf (2010): Phenology, ontogeny, and the effects of climate change on the timing of species interactions. Ecology Letters 13: 1-10  (Faculty of 1000 recommended as a “must read” & “hidden jewel) (Corresponding author: VHWR)

A. E. Dunham & V.H.W. Rudolf (2009): Evolution of sexual size monomorphism: The influence of passive mate guarding. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22: 1376-1386

V.H.W. Rudolf (2008): The impact of cannibalism in the prey on predator-prey dynamics. Ecology 89: 3116-3127

V.H.W. Rudolf & *J. Armstrong(2008): Emergent impacts of cannibalism and size-refuges in the prey on intraguild predation systems. Oecologia 157: 675-686

V.H.W. Rudolf (2008):  Impact of cannibalism on predator-prey dynamics: Size-structured interactions and apparent mutualism. Ecology 89: 1650-1660.

S. Schreiber and V.H.W. Rudolf (2008) Crossing habitat boundaries: coupling dynamics of ecosystems through complex life cycles Ecology Letters 11: 576–587 (authors contributed equally)

V.H.W. Rudolf  (2008) Consequences of size structure in the prey for predator-prey dynamics: the composite functional response. Journal of Animal Ecology 77: 520-528.

V.H.W. Rudolf (2007) Consequences of stage-structured predators: cannibalism, behavioral effects, and trophic cascades. Ecology 88: 2991-3003

V.H.W. Rudolf (2007): The interaction of cannibalism and omnivory: Consequences for community dynamics. Ecology 88: 2697-2705

*G. Ferris & V.H.W. Rudolf (2007): Detection of conspecific predators in larva of the dragonfly Plathemis lydia. Ecological Entomology 32: 283-288  (corresponding author: VHWR)

V.H.W.Rudolf and J. Antonovics (2007): Disease transmission by cannibalism: Rare event or common occurrence? Proceedings of the Royal Society, London: Biological Science 274: 1205-1210

J. Antonovics, J. Abbate, C.H. Baker, D. Daley, M.E. Hood, C.E.Jenkins, L.J.Johnson, J.J. Murray, V. Panjeti, V.H.W. Rudolf, D. Sloan, J. Vondrasek (2007): Evolution by any other name: Antobiotic resistance and avoidance of the e-word.  PLoS Biology 5: 137-139

V.H.W. Rudolf and M.-O. Rödel (2007): Phenotypic plasticity and optimal timing of metamorphosis under uncertain time constraints. Evolutionary Ecology 21: 121-142

H.M. Wilbur and V.H.W. Rudolf (2006): Life History Evolution in uncertain environment: Bet-hedging in time. American Naturalist 168: 398-411

V.H.W. Rudolf (2006): The influence of size-specific indirect interactions in predator-prey systems Ecology 87: 362-271

V.H.W. Rudolf & J. Antonovics (2005): Species coexistence and pathogens with frequency-dependent transmission. American Naturalist 166 112-118.

V.H.W. Rudolf & M.-O. Rödel (2005): Oviposition site selection in a complex and variable environment: The role of habitat quality and conspecific cues. Oecologia 142:316-325

M.-O. Rödel, V.H.W. Rudolf, S. Froschammer and K.E. Linsenmair (2004): Life History of a West African tree–hole breeding frog, Phrynobatrachus guineensis, Guibé and Lamotte, 1961 (Amphibia: Anura: Petropedetidae); — Ann Arbor, Special Publications of the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology 193: 31-44

Rödel M.-O., T.U. Grafe, V.H.W. Rudolf & R. Ernst (2002): Review of West African spotted Kassina, including a description of Kassina schioetzi sp. nov.(Amphibia: Anura: Hyperoliidae). Copeia 3: 800-81

 Book Chapters

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Presentations & Abstracts

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Invited Seminars 










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Fellowhips & Funding Awards

2013-2017  NSF DEB: Linking ontogenetic niche shifts and functional diversity: Consequences for community dynamics and biodiversity loss. Sole PI ($600,000)

2013-2014   NSF DDIG: Carry-over effects in space: Beyond single species studies and towards meta-community dynamics, Co-PI: Benjamin van Allen ($10,435)

2012    NSF DDIG: "Phenological shifts and species interactions: Disentangling the role of timing and synchrony", Co-PI: Nicholas Rasmussen ($14,916)

2012-2014   USDA AFRI NIFA Predoctoral Fellowship: "Elucidating the mechanistic basis and population level consequences of immune priming in Tribolium beetles", Co-PI with Andrea Grahaem & Ann Tate ($75,00)

2010-2011 Schell Center for Sustainability: "Linking climate change to the structure and functioning of native communities". PI V.H.W.Rudolf, with Co-PI A. E. Dunham, C Masiello. ($30,000)

2009-2011 National Institute of Mathematical and Biological Sciences (NIMBios) working group grant “Population and community ecology consequences of intraspecific niche variation” Co-PI with D. Bolnick and K. McCann (~$75,450)

2009-2012 NSF: “From individuals to communities: Consequence of ontogenetic functional diversity for community structure and functioning” Sole PI ($352,501)

2008 International Collaboration Award, Rice University ($4,000)

2006-2007 NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant ($9,596)

2006 - Faculty Senate Award for Excellence in Research and Teaching. This University wide award is given to students "who have demonstrated excellence in both their scholarly research and their teaching duties". ($25,000) (Click for News link)

2006 - Sigma Xi Grant in Aid of Research Award ($990)

2004-2005 - Mountain Lake Biological Station Research Fellowship

2003-2005 - Pratt Bequest Fellowship ($31,900)

2003-2005 - GSAS Fellowship ($3,000)





PhD students:

Current Undergraduates

Past Undergraduates

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Current & Past Collaboration Partners

Janis Antonovics, University of Virginia

Mike Boots, University of Sheffield

Amy Dunham, Rice University

Kevin Lafferty, USGS, UC Santa Barbara

Amy Pedersen, University of Edinburgh

Daniel Saenz, USDA research station, TX

Sebastian Schreiber, UC Davis

Henry M. Wilbur, University of Virginia

Louie Yang, UC Davis



The American Naturalist

Journal of Animal Ecology



NSF, European Research Council, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), PLOS Biology, American Naturalist, Ecology, Ecology Letters, Evolution, Oikos, Journal of Animal Ecology, Oecologia, Ecosphere, Global Change Biology, PLOS One, Ethology, Journal of Theoretical Ecology, Theoretical Population Biology, Behavioral Ecology, Journal of Zoology, Freshwater Biology, Ecological Research, Aquatic Ecology, Journal of North American Benthological Society, Ecological Entomology, Community Ecology, Journal of Tropical Herpetology, Journal of Herpetology, Amphibia-Reptilia, Applications & Applied Mathematics


Professional Societies

Society of American Naturalists

Ecological Society of America

British Ecological Society