stanley rice as darwinStanley A. Rice writes books about plants, evolution, and the environment which are informative and authoritative, while remaining easy to understand and fun to read. He was born in Cushing, Oklahoma and grew up in Lindsay, California. He is a Professor of Biological Sciences at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant. He has a B.A. in Environmental Biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Ph.D. in Plant Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He has held faculty positions in New York, Indiana, and Minnesota. He is a science educator, scientific researcher, and science writer.


Stan’s primary scientific research involves the ecology of a very rare tree, the seaside alder (Alnus maritima).  This species consists of three subspecies: one lives in just two counties in Oklahoma; one lives in a single swamp in northwestern Georgia; and one lives only on the Delmarva Peninsula east of Chesapeake Bay.  This is the entire range of the species in the whole world..  Stan and his fellow botanists have studied the ecological adaptations, genetics, and other biological aspects of this rare tree.

Stan and colleagues have also studied: the defenses of post oaks (Quercus stellata) against insect herbivores during wet and dry years in Oklahoma; and the ecological impacts of the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta) in Oklahoma.  He has also studied the strength of the wood in branches of bois-d’arc (Maclura pomifera).

Stan’s PhD work examined environmental variability and phenotypic flexibility in plants.  Working with Fakhri A. Bazzaz at the University of Illinois (recently retired from Harvard University), Stan developed an allometric system for quantifying phenotypic plasticity and acclimation by comparison of plants at a common weight, and published these results in two articles that have been frequently cited since their publication in 1989.  Stan also found that weedy fields had more environmental variability than prairies, which had more than the forest floor; and that herbaceous species had greater phenotypic flexibility if they lived in more variable environments.


Stan has developed creative laboratory activities that integrate biology and mathematics.

Stan has also managed three grants from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) that hires student interns in botany, environmental science, and related areas to conduct research with the Agricultural Research Service, and present these results at scientific meetings.  For more information click on these links:

    USDA research facility at Lane, Oklahoma

Stan is part of the leadership of the Citizens for the Protection of the Arbuckle Simpson Aquifer, a citizen’s group dedicated to the stewardship of the only source of water for people and natural areas (including the rare Oklahoma seaside alder) in a large region of south central Oklahoma.


Stan is also a highly-sought speaker on evolutionary and environmental topics. 

Stan has been involved (in minor roles) with the leadership of several organizations and wishes to recommend them to his fellow science educators. 

    Botanical Society of America (Teaching Section)
    Project Kaleidoscope
    National Association of Biology Teachers
    Oklahoma Academy of Science
    Oklahoma Native Plant Society
    Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education

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