James Diana Ph.D.

Professor and Director of Michigan Sea Grant

Ph.D. Zoology, 1979, University of Alberta

M.A. Biology, 1975, California State University, Long Beach

B.S. Marine Biology, 1974, California State University, Long Beach


I am a Professor of Natural Resources, as well as Director of the Michigan Sea Grant Program, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. My research focuses on aquatic animals and their interactions with the environment. This is expressed in two major research areas: sustainable aquaculture and its role in feeding the world, and the ecology of natural fish populations, particularly in the Great Lakes region. As aquaculture is the most important means of producing seafood today, its environmental impacts are important, and we need to understand and remediate them in order to more sustainably produce aquaculture crops. My research focuses on the interaction between aquaculture practices and environmental impacts and seeks to find solutions for more sustainable production in the future. Secondly, human impacts on natural systems have resulted in dramatic declines in many fish species throughout the world, particularly in the Great Lakes region. My research focus on fish ecology is on the management, restoration, and rehabilitation of wild populations that have been inevitably influenced by human disturbance. My teaching is in Aquatic Sciences, in particular, courses in Ecology of Fishes and Sustainable Aquaculture. In addition, I supervise research of a large number of graduate students in Aquatic Sciences.

Additional Research Interests:

  • Behavior and ecology of many temperate fishes, including muskellunge, brown trout, lake sturgeon, yellow perch, largemouth bass, and alewives.
  • Extensive aquaculture systems in Southeast Asia, as well as expansion of aquaculture in Michigan.
  • Conservation of natural resources, either through work on endangered species such as the Paiute trout and lake sturgeon, or through the understanding of ecologically sensitive aquaculture practice.
  • Great Lakes ecology and restoration.

Current/Recent Research:

I am currently conducting work funded by the Agency for International Development on Aquaculture in Asia. Additional projects include work on muskellunge spawning, funded by the Wisconsin DNR; on recirculating aquaculture systems, funded by the Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute and NSF; and on environmental effects of shrimp farming. I have recently begun research funded by NOAA/Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, focused on establishing a spawning reef for fishes in the middle channel of the St. Clair River, and documenting its success by evaluation of juvenile fishes in downstream wetland areas.

Awards and Grants:

  • Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute. 2006-present. Development of sustainable shrimp aquaculture.
  • Oregon State University. 2006-present. Improving sustainability and reducing environmental impacts of aquaculture systems in China, and South and Southeast Asia.
  • Oregon State University. 1983-present. Collaborative research support program for pond culture systems in Thailand.
  • NSF. 2010-present.. Improving the environmental sustainability of shrimp aquaculture systems through microbial resource management.
  • Wisconsin DNR. 2009-present. Great Lakes spotted muskellunge reintroduction natural spawning effort evaluation.

Selected Publications:

  • Diana, J.S., H.S. Egna, T. Chopin, M.S. Peterson, L. Cao, R. Pomeroy, M. Verdegem, W.T. Slack, M.G. Bondad-Reantaso, and F. Cabello. 2013. Responsible aquaculture in 2050: Valuing local conditions and human innovations will be key to success. BioScience 63:255-262.
  • Diana, J.S.  2009.  Aquaculture production and biodiversity conservation.  BioScience 59:27-38.
  • Diana, J.S. 2005.  Biology and ecology of fishes, Second Edition. Biological Sciences Press. Carmel, Indiana.
  • Diana, J.S. and T.L. Margenau, editors.  2007.  The muskellunge symposium: a memorial for E. J. Crossman.  Springer, Dordecht, The Netherlands.
  • Diana, J.S., S. Maruca, and B. Low.  2006.  Prey consumption by cormorants and its effect on the yellow perch population of Les Cheneaux Islands area, Northern Lake Huron.  Journal of Great Lakes Research 32:306-320.