Meet the Team


Photo of Matt CatalanoMatt Catalano is an Assistant Professor in the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences at Auburn.  His research is broadly focused on fish population dynamics, fisheries management, and stock assessment. Specifically, he studies demographic responses to harvesting, factors affecting recruitment of fishes, stock assessment and quantitative methods, management policy evaluation, risk analysis, structured decision making and adaptive management, and the ecosystem-level effects of exploitation.  Matt is from the Lake Erie port city of Lorain, Ohio.  He obtained a B.S. in zoology at Miami University.  After brief stints at Yellowstone National Park and the Illinois Natural History Survey, he received an M.S. in fisheries at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where I studied the effects of dam removal on riverine fish communities.  Matt obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Florida where he investigated gizzard shad population dynamics.  More recently, he completed a post-doctoral position at the Quantitative Fisheries Center at Michigan State University where he conducted research on management and assessment of several fish stocks including Chinook and chum of western Alaska, Lake Erie walleye, Illinois River bighead and silver carp, and a few others.



BuckinghamJeff Buckingham is a Master’s student pursuing a degree in fisheries management.  He is using a high reward tagging study to look at various largemouth bass mortality rates in northern Alabama reservoirs.  Jeff received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  In the past, he has worked on a long term research project looking at fish populations, water quality, and aquatic vegetation in Wisconsin.  He also worked in the Green Bay, WI area helping a graduate student study spring northern pike migrations.  Most recently, he was a research assistant for Auburn University where he worked on creel surveys, shoal bass, and several other projects.  After receiving a Master’s degree, Jeff plans to become a research biologist with a state or federal agency.


Photo of Nick FeltzNick Feltz is a graduate student pursuing a MS in fisheries management. He is modelling long-term recruitment trends on multiple Tennessee River reservoirs. Nick received his bachelor’s degree in fisheries at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. He has been involved in research developing fish habitat metrics for littoral zones of northern temperate lakes as well as doing salmon and steelhead stream assessments for the Columbia Habitat Monitoring Program in Idaho. He most recently worked for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute with a focus on crappie and Florida bass population dynamics and stock assessment. Nick’s career goal is to become a fisheries biologist for a state or federal agency with an emphasis on research.


Photo of John FennellJohn Fennell is an undergraduate student pursuing a B.S. in fisheries management from Auburn University. He was born in Nashville, TN, where he has lived his entire life. After earning his B.S. he hopes to work towards an advanced degree in fisheries management, ecology or a related field.


Photo of Sean LuskSean Lusk is a master’s student with emphasis in the management of freshwater fisheries. His research will focus on the interactions between largemouth bass, bluegill and threadfin shad in small impoundments in the Southeastern United States.  He received his B.S. in Fisheries Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2013. Past research experience includes an internship at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science where he studied the occurrence of juvenile southern flounder in an area they had not previously been known to exist. Sean has also assisted on numerous other research projects including evaluating population dynamics of blue catfish in a major Virginian reservoir, the efficacy of trotlines in Southwestern Virginia, and the distribution of northern snakehead in the Potomac River. Upon graduation, he plans to pursue a career as a Fisheries Biologist for either a state or federal agency.


Photo of Ben StatonBen Staton is a graduate assistant pursuing a degree in fisheries management.  Ben’s research is focused on Chinook salmon stocks in western Alaska.  He is using long-term data sets to create and test models that address questions and make predictions relating to the stock’s population dynamics.   Ben completed his undergraduate study at Michigan State University with a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences where he contributed to research on Chinook salmon in Lake Michigan.  He also completed an internship at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute which focused on the growth of fish otoliths. Leading up to his graduate position, he served as a fisheries aide with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources where he gained experience sampling fish in the field and an exposure to the operation of state government.  After school, Ben would like to pursue a career as a fisheries research biologist at either the state or federal level.

Dana Sackett, Postdoctoral researcher


Dana Sackett received her B.S. in marine biology from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. She received her M.S. in biological oceanography and fish ecology from Rutgers University examining summer flounder habitat use and migration dynamics using acoustic telemetry. Dana completed her Ph.D. in biology with a minor in ecotoxicology at North Carolina State University exploring mercury contamination in fish across North Carolina. She also worked as a postdoctoral researcher at North Carolina State University assessing endocrine disruption impacts in North Carolina.  At the University of Hawaii, Dana also examined the efficacy of deepwater marine protected areas, sources of mercury to and the trophic ecology of several deepwater snapper species.  Dana is currently a postdoctoral researcher working with Matt Catalano to examine fisheries management of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico using high reward tag-recapture methods.  Visit Dana’s google scholar page here.

Troy Farmer, Postdoctoral researcher


Troy Farmer completed his PhD at The Ohio State University in the Aquatic Ecology Laboratory, where he studied climate change effects on yellow perch reproduction and recruitment in Lake Erie.  Troy received his B.S. and M.S. at Auburn University. For his M.S., Troy investigated how ecological and environmental factors affect mercury bioaccumulation in largemouth bass and southern flounder populations along the northern Gulf of Mexico.  As a postdoctoral fellow at Auburn University, Troy is currently working with western Alaskan Chinook salmon populations, using Bayesian modeling approaches to quantify stock-specific run-timing and abundance in data-limited situations. This work is focused on Chinook salmon populations in the Kuskokwim River in western Alaska.  View Troy’s personal webpage here: