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  James W Grier
  Emeritus Professor

  US Mail Address:
  Department of Biological Sciences, #2715
  North Dakota State University
  PO Box 6050
  Fargo, ND 58108
  e-mail to: James W Grier


Raised in Iowa in an area of woods, near a river and lots of water, living on and in the water since childhood. Became interested in animals (of many kinds) and biology early in life (at least by the age of 3 according to parents and photos). Canoe- and fishing-guide (in Iowa, Minnesota, and Ontario) and worked in sporting goods store during high school and undergraduate college. Family of teachers including both parents and all (3) siblings. Education and the process of learning are major interests. Became interested in birds of prey early and started working with eagles in Ontario, Canada, in 1959. Interested in photography during most of life. Active in scuba diving (certified, NAUI, 1991).

Research, work and experience: population dynamics, animal behavior, physiology (particularly neural, muscular, and cardiovascular), science education, conservation, statistics and data analysis, and combinations of the above; bald eagles and many other species of eagles, including the Philippine eagle, other raptors, and other groups of animals including other birds, mammals, snakes, fish, insects, marine/aquatic invertebrates, and fossils (particularly ammonites and other fossil cephalopods). Travel: from arctic Canada to the tropics of Asia, Caribbean, and throughout U.S. Much work collaborative with colleagues and graduate students. Wife is a partner in research and we assist each other's projects. Taught a wide variety of biological subjects from freshman level introductory general and anatomy/physiology courses, upper division specialty courses, to graduate, Master's and Ph.D. levels.

Very diverse interests in biology from molecular through structure and function/physiology, and embryology to ecological and population dynamics, with a wide range of organisms. Primary research area has been birds of prey, particularly eagles (working with bald eagles for around 50 years, incl. as a team leader for the bald eagle recovery, and Philippine eagles for 30 years, was on Johnny Carson show with an eagle [over 30 years ago] and invited to White House to assist with a Presidental speech re eagle matters), but grad students have been involved widely with many types of animals and topics, also published in other areas, particularly fossils, and personal interests in biology are all over the map. If it has (or had) DNA, it's cool!

At NDSU since 1973 (retired October 2006, after 33 years). Continuing to be active in the department as Emeritus Professor.


B.A. 1965 -- Univ. of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA -- major in Science (Biology) Education
M.S. 1968 -- University of Wisconsin/Madison -- major in Zoology
Ph.D. 1975 -- Cornell University, Ithaca, NY -- major in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, secondary major in Physiology


Further details: see Summary or Full curriculum vitae.




Wide variety of college/university courses in zoology/biology since 1962, while undergraduate and graduate teaching assistant and at NDSU.

Courses recently taught 

Note: now retired and no longer teaching classes.



Research (and related service areas)

(for publications, see Summary or Full curriculum vitae [may not be uptodate, but provides past sample])

  • Bald eagle population dynamics (several aspects including reproduction, survival, movements)
         -- annual nesting and banding studies in northwestern Ontario, since 1964 (banding)/66 (large scale surveys)
         -- simulation modeling (see below)
         -- collaboration and advising: several colleagues and agencies, e.g., Northern States Bald Eagle Recovery
             Team (1978-93)
         -- misc. work on eagle behavior
  • Other birds of prey
         -- golden eagles (captive breeding, behavior, misc. field studies)
         -- Philippine eagles (advising for work on captive breeding, field studies, and conservation efforts)
         -- Javan hawk-eagle (advising for conservation efforts)
         -- peregrine falcons (population modeling [see below], field work on Baffin Island, Canada)
         -- red-tailed hawks (behavior and nesting studies)
         -- misc. work and experience with other species
  • Computer modeling of population dynamics (deterministic and stochastic models, various aspects)
  • Ammonites (fossil cephalopods)
         -- western Montana Pierre Shale/ upper Cretaceous
         -- collaborative work with wife and colleagues from U.S.G.S., American Museum of Nat. Hist., and
             Black Hills Institute of Geological Research
  • Misc. amphibians and reptiles
         -- supervised department animal collection
         -- studies on Salmonella in snakes
         -- field work on North Dakota prairie rattlesnakes
  • Misc. aquatic invertebrates, e.g., zebra mussels
  • research involving graduate students ... see next section



Graduate Students


(name -- topic of research)


  • Larry Igl (Ph.D.) -- breeding bird populations in CRP grassland fields
  • plus work with several other graduate students in the department and on campus


(name -- topic of research -- current location)




  • Arlen Harmoning (1976) -- white-tailed deer dispersion and habitat utilization in ND -- ND Game & Fish Department
  • John Schulz (1976) -- population dynamics of gray partridge in ND -- Western Plains Consulting, Inc.
  • John Wiehe (1977) -- population dynamics of gray partridge in ND -- (location ?/selling medical equipment?)
  • Roger E. Johnson (1978) -- deer surveys in ND -- ND Game & Fish Dept.
  • Howard Postovit (1979) -- raptor populations in western ND -- environmental consulting in Wyoming
  • David Evans (1980) -- saw-whet owl migration and weather -- raptor migration research at Duluth, MN
  • Pamela Soine Dryer (1981) -- sandhill crane habitat in ND -- environmental consulting (location?)
  • Gerald L. Anderson (1983) -- upland game bird survey evaluation in ND -- (location?/with a federal agency?)
  • Jean Rolandelli Hushagen (1984) -- population status of crows in ND -- teaching in Bismarck, ND
  • Ronald Gaines (1985) -- breeding biology of ferruginous hawks in ND -- Missouri Dept. of Conservation
  • Shannon Garner (1991) -- aspen management for ruffed grouse -- continued with Ph.D. work in Montana then ...?
  • Agus Sutito (1994) -- national park managment in Indonesia -- Java with the national government
  • Marty Shawn Bjerke (1996) -- bald eagle vocalizations -- on faculty at Fergus Falls Commun. College, MN
  • Felix Guerrero (M.S.) (1998) -- nesting red-shouldered hawks in south Texas -- disappeared into cyberspace/working with computers in Arizona
  • Jeff Jundt (M.S.) (200) -- distributions of amphibians and reptiles in ND -- curator at aquarium facilities, Las Vegas, NV
  • Ellen R. Leichty (2002) -- golden-winged warbler behavior and relationships to blue-winged warblers -- working on Ph.D. in LA
  • Natalie J. Gackle (2003) -- northern leopard frog parasites and land use -- teaching at Pensacola Junior College, FL
  • Shawn Hawks (2004) -- origins of migrating goshawks as determined by hydrogen isotopes -- working with federal & state agencies
  • Mark Davis (2005) -- effects of Atrazine on developing frogs -- working on Ph.D. at Colorado State University
  • Matthew Smith (2006) -- geometric morphometry of prairie rattlesnakes -- working on Ph.D. at Univ. of Arkansas




  • Guy Berg (1977) -- embryogenesis in pink bollworms -- (currently?/managing a research lab in Europe?)
  • George T. Allen (1986) -- nesting prairie falcons and golden eagles in ND -- US Fish & Wildlife Service, Arlington, VA
  • Douglas H. Johnson (1986) -- breeding populations of North American ducks -- USGS, office at U of MN, Twin Cities
  • Mark Kopeny (1988) -- white-tailed hawks in south Texas -- on faculty at University of Virginia (?)
  • Mah, Jeng (1988) -- red-winged blackbird feeding on sunflowers -- on faculty at Univ. of Minnesota
  • Robert Rosenfield (1990) -- nesting Cooper's hawk behavior in Wisconsin -- on faculty at U. of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
  • Marsha Sovada (1993) -- coyote and fox predation on nesting ducks -- Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND
  • Meenakshi Nagendran (1995) -- Siberian crane behavior -- (several places/universities etc. ... currently at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, MD)
  • Rick Hart (1999) -- population dynamics of native and zebra mussels in the Mississippi River and Minnesota -- NOAA, marine fisheries in Texas
  • Karl Altenburg (1999) -- yellowjacket wasp nest-building behavior -- on faculty at NDSU
  • Jeremy E. Guinn (2004) -- bald eagle nesting habitat and human presence in Minnesota -- on faculty at Sitting Bull College, Fort Yates, ND

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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North Dakota State University
Campus address: 201 Stevens Hall
Physical/delivery address: 1340 Bolley Drive, 201 Stevens Hall Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address: Biological Sciences, Dept. 2715, North Dakota State University, PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050

Last Updated: Thursday, October 05, 2017 2:43:04 PM
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