Author Archive

QFC Travels to Rome

rome R
Three members of the QFC (Mike Jones, Lisa Peterson, and Norine Dobiesz) traveled to Rome, Italy this January to attend the Global Conference on Inland Fisheries. This international conference was held at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. With attendees from over 40 different countries the conference took a global, multidisciplinary approach to a variety of freshwater fisheries issues. Oral presentations and interactive discussions concluded in a group session to develop recommendations for inland fisheries policy statements. MSU was well represented, with President Lou Anna K. Simon giving the keynote address discussing a new partnership between MSU and FAO and quite a few members of the Fish & Wildlife Department giving talks and presenting posters.

The QFC was active as well with a poster and a short course. Lisa presented a poster titled “Breaking down barriers to transparent decisions: A role for structured decision-making in the management of impounded rivers” on the work she did during her time as a Fenske Fellow. Mike, Lisa, and Norine taught the Introduction to Programming in R for Fisheries Scientists workshop which had 10 participants from nearly 10 different countries. Though this was not the QFC’s first foray into teaching the course internationally, it was certainly one of the most diverse!

Congratulations to our 2 newest graduates

Congratulations to our two newest graduates.  Both Jared Meyers and Dave Fielder earned their Ph.D’s!

Jared and Dave grad pic

2014 Recap

2014 was another successful and busy year for the QFC. We closed out the year with 24 staff members, including 7 Post-Doctoral Research Associates/Research Scientists, 6 Ph.D. students, 5 M.S. students, and 1 undergraduate researcher. One M.S. student (Lisa Peterson) defended her thesis research and elected to stay at the QFC to pursue a PhD. Three Ph.D. students (Chris Vandergoot, Dave Fielder, and Jared Myers) defended their PhD research; all three continue their employment with fishery management agencies in the Great Lakes region. In terms of educational opportunities, QFC staff taught 3 short courses during the year: 2 courses on the use of R at the American Fisheries Society annual meeting in Quebec and at Shanghai Ocean University and a course on risk and decision making for fisheries management at Shanghai Ocean University. The QFC also continued to offer two non-credit online courses (Maximum Likelihood Estimation for Natural Resources and Ecology, R Essentials for Natural Resource Professional). QFC staff participated in around 20 consultation/outreach projects for supporting partner agencies and were involved in 22 research projects. QFC staff authored or co-authored 23 manuscripts/completion reports/technical reports that were published or accepted for publication, including 19 peer-reviewed scientific publications. The QFC leadership continues to be very proud of the excellent group of researchers and academic staff assembled at MSU and we thank them for their hard work.

The QFC added 7 new “fish” to our tank

The QFC welcomes 7 new members to our team this semester!  We have 2 new post doctoral research associates, Sam Truesdell from the University of Maine and Lori Ivan from the University of Michigan.

Welcome to our new Master’s students Cleyo Harris, Alex Jensen, Alex Maguffee, Kelly Smith, and Shane Flinn an undergraduate researcher.

Click the links to see pictures and learn more about our new members.

2014-11-13 16.22.21

Welcome ‘back’ Mike

The QFC is pleased to welcome Mike Jones back the the QFC full time. Previously Mike has been the Chair of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife as well as a co-director for the QFC. Mike traded the Chair position and accepted a position as a Peter A Larkin Professor of Quantitative Fisheries. Welcome Back Mike, we are excited to see you around more!


QFC presence at AFS

The QFC had a large presence at this year’s AFS meeting with 7 members attending. We were active participants giving three talks and teaching a workshop. First Jim, Lisa, Travis and Yang taught the Introduction to Programming in R for Fisheries Scientists workshop which had 15 participants. One participant enjoyed the workshop enough to sign up for our full online course.

Jim spoke about experiences in implementing temporally varying parameters in real assessments and Travis spoke about simultaneous analysis of genetic and length data to estimate changes in year-class strength of Lake Michigan Lake Sturgeon in the Practical Applications of Sturgeon Research symposium. Yang gave a talk in the Next Generation of Fish Stock Assessments symposium about the influence of stock assessment frequency on achievement of fishery management objectives.

It was also nice to see several QFC alumni at the meeting including Mike Wilberg, Aaron Berger, Matt Catalano, Carson Prichard and Gretchen Hansen.

The QFC is a featured research group!

The QFC is a featured research group on the High Performance Computing Center at Michigan State University. The HPCC is an easy-to-use high performance computing that enable larger, broader and more complex computation than ever before—work that could have taken months or years now can be done in hours or days. Read more about how we use the HPCC for our research projects.

Resized QFC Image

Visitors at the QFC

The QFC welcomes visitors this summer. Rahman Patimar is on sabbatical leave from Gonbad Kavoos University in Iran, where he is an associate professor. At his home institution he has done teaching on fish population dynamics and ichthyology and research on a variety of fish populations, in particular Cyprind species of the Caspian Sea. Rahman will be at the QFC through the spring of 2015 and is taking time during his visit to learn new methods of data analysis and modeling of fish populations. He hopes to apply what he is learning to example data sets from North America.
We also welcome two master’s students from Shanghai Ocean University. These students are among a group of students visiting Michigan State University for 2 weeks and have a special interest in quantitative methods. They will spend time working through our online Introduction to R Course as well as collaborating with our knowledgeable staff.
The QFC will be seeing many new visitors in the future with our newly launched visiting scientist and secondment program. Participants will have an opportunity to spend time at the QFC, working with QFC staff and learning quantitative fisheries methods. You can learn more about the programs here

R Programming Workshop At AFS and Article Summary

Jim Bence and Travis Brenden from the QFC will be teaching an AFS continuing education course at the American Fisheries Society annual meeting on Sunday August 17, 8am-5pm. The early registration deadline is June 20. If you are interested we encourage you to sign up by the deadline to help avoid the chance of the course being cancelled due to low enrollment! The cost of the course is $150 for AFS members, $200 for non-members, $100 for AFS student members and $130 for non-AFS students. In addition the QFC offers a more extensive online R course and will offer discounts to those who take the AFS R course and then sign up for the online course in the next year. For more information on the AFS R course see and for more information on our online R course see

Also, check out this article summary on work by QFC’s Iyob Tsehaye, Michael L. Jones, Travis O. Brenden, James R. Bence while you are are registering!  Boom and Bust in Lake Michigan

Lisa Peterson successfully defended her MS thesis!

On May 1, Lisa Peterson successfully defended her MS thesis, titled Investigating Assumptions Made in the Assessment of Lake Erie Yellow Perch. For the first part of Lisa’s thesis research, she investigated the assumption that there was no movement of yellow perch between the four management units in Lake Erie. She used a statistical catch-at-age model that assumed movement between two of the management units to evaluate the effect this assumption had on the results of the stock assessment (e.g. abundance estimates, catchability). Lisa’s second chapter of her thesis focused on a catch-rate standardization for the Ohio trawl survey data that is used in the stock assessment as an index of yellow perch abundance. She developed a model that took into account different environmental factors to extract a standardized index. These factors included a wind component that incorporated both wind speed and direction, which are not commonly used in catch-rate standardizations. She then compared the standardized index of yellow perch with the non-standardized index to investigate the effect these factors have on catch rates in Lake Erie. Lisa has some edits to make to her thesis before she can submit a final copy to the Michigan State University Graduate School, but these should be completed in early summer. Lisa is continuing on in the Quantitative Fisheries Center as a PhD student and is in the beginning stages of her project. Congratulations Lisa!!!
Read more about her work from the Lake Erie Committee


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