Rice University
BioSciences at Rice

Volker Rudolf

Professor in BioSciences

Rudolf's Research My interests are broad but mainly focus on the ecological and evolutionary factors that determine the structure and dynamics of communities and ecosystem functioning. In my research I combine theoretical and empirical work to develop predictive frameworks for understanding how species interactions and abiotic environmental factors determine the structure and dynamics of communities and how they drive population dynamics and the evolution of complex life histories. Most of my current research focuses on the impact of population size structure, cannibalism and seasonal variation (including climate change) on the structure and dynamics of communities and their evolutionary consequences. This research partly overlaps with my work on the role of infectious diseases in determining the dynamics and structure of populations and communities. Most of my empirical research has been on aquatic systems, including phytotelmata, temporary and permanent ponds and headwater streams, using amphibian and invertebrates as model systems. Currently, I am working in local pond ecosystems in Texas, but my past research was conducted in the tropics in Ivory Coast, West Africa & in the Southern Appalachian.

Volker Lab home page

Graduate Program in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Pubmed Search for articles by VH Rudolf

Community & population & evolutionary ecology, focus on temporal & spatial & “individual” variation; ecosystem functioning; biodiversity; climate change; infectious diseases; aquatic ecology; cannibalism.

Select Publications

B.G. Van Allen**, F.F. Dillemuth, A.J. Flick, M.F. Faldyn, D.R. Clark, V.H.W. Rudolf, B.D. Elderd Cannibalism and infectious diseases: friend or foe? .  The American Naturalist, 190 2017: 299-312

B.J. Toscano§, V. Hin, V.H.W. Rudolf Cannibalism and intraguild predation community dynamics: Coexistence, competitive exclusion, and the loss of alternative stable states.  The American Naturalist , 190 2017: 617-630

P.A. Clay** & V.H.W. Rudolf Evolving parasite warfare: parasite interaction strategies affect virulence evolution in co-infections..   2017

K.Takatsu**, V.H.W.Rudolf, O. Kishida Giant cannibals drive selection for inducible defence in heterospecific prey.  Biological Journal of the Linnean Society , 120 2017: 675-685

V.H.W. Rudolf & B.G. Van Allen Legacy effects of developmental stages determine the functional role of predators.  Nature - Ecology & Evolution , 1 2017: 0038

V.H.W. Rudolf Non-linear effects of phenological shifts link inter-annual variation to species interactions. .   2017

C.J. Dibble**, V.H.W. Rudolf Phenotype-environment matching predicts both positive and negative effects of intraspecific variation in a population.   2017

P.A. Clay**, M. H. Cortez, M.A. Duffy, V.H.W. Rudolf Priority effects within co-infected hosts alter prevalence relationships between parasites at the host population scale.   2017

C. Keiser§, S. Vojvodic; I. Butler*; E. Sartain*, V.H.W. Rudolf, J. Saltz Queen presence mediates the relationship between collective behavior and disease susceptibility in ant colonies.  Journal of Animal Ecology 2017

C. Ma, L. Wang, W. Zhang, V.H.W. Rudolf Resolving biological impacts of heat waves: interaction of hot days and recovery periods.  Oikos 2017

S. Carter**, D. Saenz, V.H.W. Rudolf Shifts in phenological distributions reshape interaction potential in natural communities. .   2017

C. Keiser§, V.H.W. Rudolf, S. Elizabeth*, E. Every*, J. Saltz Social context alters host behavior and infection risk.   2017

V. H. W. Rudolf & A. Roman Trophic structure alters consequences of environmental warming.   2017

R. Costa-Pereira**, V.H.W. Rudolf, F. L. Souza, M. S. Araújo Unraveling the drivers of individual niche variation in coexisting species.   2017

B.G. Van Allen** and V.H.W. Rudolf (2016) Carry-over effects alter the structure of two species meta-communities. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences 113: 6939-6944

N.L. Rasmussen** and V.H.W. Rudolf: (2016) Individual and combined effects of two types of phenological shifts on predator-prey interactions.  Ecology 97:3414-3421

G. Ma, V.H.W. Rudolf, C. Ma (2015): Extreme temperature events alter demographic rates, relative fitness, and community structure. Global Change Biology 21: 1794-1808

B.G.Van Allen** and V.H.W. Rudolf (2015) Habitat-mediated carry-over effects lead to context dependent outcomes of species interactions. Journal of Animal Ecology  84:1646-1656

N.L. Rasmussen** and V.H.W. Rudolf (2015): Phenological synchronization drives demographic rates of populations. Ecology 96: 1754-1760

W. Zhang, V.H.W. Rudolf, and C. Ma (2015): Stage-specific heat effects: Timing and duration of heat waves alter demographic rates of a global insect pest. Oecologia 179:947-957

N. L. Rasmussen, B. Van Allen, and V.H.W. Rudolf 2014. Linking phenological shifts to species interactions through size-mediated priority effects. Journal of Animal Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12254. [Epub ahead of print]

L. Krenek* & V.H.W. Rudolf (2014): Allometric scaling predicts non-consumptive effects in multi-predator systems. Journal of Animal Ecology 83: 1461-1468

C. J. Dibble**, S.R. Hall, V.H.W. Rudolf (2014): Intraspecific priority effects and disease interact to alter population growth. Ecology 95: 3354-3363

N. L. Rasmussen**, B. Van Allen**, V.H.W. Rudolf (2014): Linking phenological shifts to species interactions through size-mediated priority effects. Journal of Animal Ecology 83: 1206-1215

V.H.W. Rudolf, N. L. Rasmussen, C.J. Dibble, and B.G. Van Allen.   2014.  Resolving the roles of body size and species identity in driving functional diversity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281:1781

V.H.W. Rudolf & M. Singh 2013.  Disentangling climate change effects on species interactions: Body size mediates interaction of temperature and phenological shifts. Oecologia  173:1043-1052

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.

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.

V.H.W. Rudolf & N. L. Rasmussen. 2013. Population structure determines functional differences among species and ecosystems processes. Nature Communications 4:2318

B.G. Van Allen**, N. L. Rasmussen**, C.J. Dibble**, P.A. Clay**, V.H.W. Rudolf Top predators determine how biodiversity is partitioned across time and space.  Ecology Letters, 20 2013: 1004-1013

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

B.G. Van Allen, A. E. Dunham, C. M. Asquit, V.H.W. Rudolf.  2012. Life history predicts risk of species decline in a stochastic world. Under revision at Proceedings of the Royal Society London: B Biological Science 279: 2691-269

V.H.W. Rudolf, A. Pedersen, I. Sorell (2012): Revenge of the host: Cannibalism as a driving force of the evolutionary dynamics in host-parasitoid systems. Evolutionary Ecology Research 14: 31-49

V.H.W. Rudolf (2012): Seasonal shifts in body size diversity and trophic interactions in multi-predator systems. Journal of Animal Ecology 81: 524-532

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

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

VHW Rudolf and Lafferty KD.  (2011) Stage structure alters how complexity affects stability of ecological networks.Ecology Letters  14:75-79.

T.E.X. Miller and V.H.W Rudolf. 2011. Thinking inside the box: community-level consequences of stage-structured populations. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26:183-192

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, M. Kamo, M. Boots (2010): Cannibals in space: The co-evolution of cannibalism and dispersal in spatially structured populations.  American Naturalist 175: 513-5

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: 1-1

A. E. Dunham & V.H.W. Rudolf (2009): Evolution of sexual size-monomorphism; the influence of passive mate-guarding. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 22(7), 1376-1386

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

S. Schreiber & V.H.W. Rudolf (2008): Crossing habitat boundaries: Coupling the dynamics of ecosystems through complex life cycles. Ecology Letters 11: 576-587

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

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

G. Ferris & V.H.W. Rudolf (2007): Detection of conspecific predators in larvae of the dragonfly Plathemis lydia. – Ecological Entomology 32: 283-288

V.H.W. Rudolf & J. Antonovics (2007): Disease transmission by cannibalism: Rare event or common occurrence. – Proceedings of the Royal Society London: B 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….Antibiotic resistance and avoidance of the e-word. – PLOS Biology 5: 137-139

V.H.W. Rudolf (2007): Indirect interactions in stage-structured predator-prey systems: cannibalism, behavioral effects and trophic cascades. – Ecology 88: 2991-3003

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

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

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

H.M. Wilbur & V.H.W. Rudolf (2006): Life History Evolution in uncertain environments: 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 & 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

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

Rudolf Lab home page
Rudolf lab website

  • PhD Ecology & Evolution (2007) University of Virginia
  • MS Biology (2003) University of Würzburg
  • Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering
Research Areas
  • Ecology, Evolution, community and population ecology, aquatic ecology, ecology of infectious diseases, climate change, phenology
Contact Information
Email: Volker.Rudolf@rice.edu
Phone: 713-348-2834
Office: Anderson Biological Laboratories, 105A