James Anderson is an ecologist who likes to look at biological processes from a mechanistic perspective. These interests have led him and his students to explore a variety of topics, such as antigen levels in salmon, the ways that fish pass through dams and the ocean, predator foraging, decision processes in animals, the neurology of swarming, as well as a variety of survival modeling, from Drosophila to dump trucks. While much of his work is involved with fish restoration and water use in the Columbia and Sacramento River systems, it is all undergirded by an interest in understanding how things work, and then expressing those processes mathematically. With John Skalski, he is Co-Director of Columbia Basin Research, a center dedicated to providing quantitative approaches to issues involving endangered salmon stocks in the Columbia River Basin.