Brad Erisman, Assistant Professor of Fisheries Ecology

Director of the Coastal Fisheries Research Program

Ph.D. Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego (2008)
M.S. California State University Northridge (2003)
B.S. University of California Santa Barbara (1998)

I am a fisheries ecologist with specific interests in reproductive biology, behavioral ecology, population dynamics, fisheries management, and conservation biology. My research utilizes a blend of innovative field, laboratory, and analytical techniques to address fundamental and pressing questions in fisheries ecology and marine conservation biology. My work is motivated by a desire to contribute to the advancement of science and to provide meaningful results for practical use in  management and conservation.

I employ a quantitative approach to examine connections between the reproductive strategies, life history patterns, and population dynamics of fishes and their resilience to anthropogenic and environmental stressors. Specifically, I investigate how variations in these traits at multiple spatial and temporal scales influence the response of fish populations and species to fishing pressure and environmental conditions, which may require different management solutions to maintain a balance between sustainable fisheries and healthy, resilient ecosystems.


Links:  CV     Research Gate     Google Scholar

Jack Egerton, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Ph.D. Bangor University, UK
M.S. University of Wales, Bangor, UK
B.S. University of Plymouth, UK

Jack has recently arrived from the UK to start a Post-Doctoral Research position at the University of Texas at Austin. His main role is using hydroacoustics to describe and quantify the spatial distribution of fish biomass, fish abundance, and fish density at 60 petroleum platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. This position follows his recent submission of his PhD, using hydroacoustics to examine fish within marine protected areas, with research on spawning aggregations in the Cayman Islands, fish amongst different habitat types in Qatar, and the effects of habitat and protection on fish at Cabo Pulmo National Park, Mexico. Prior to the PhD, Jack has been involved in many marine consultancy projects ranging from the design of sampling protocols to data collection through to statistical analyses and GIS. He has done a great deal of survey work in his time as a marine environmental consultant both offshore and intertidal. This offshore survey work has included the use of grabs, trawls, drop down video and camera as well as acoustic techniques for mapping the seabed and habitats (AGDS, fisheries echosounders, sidescan sonar and multibeam). This knowledge of acoustic marine mapping technology led him to create Echology Ltd – a specialist consultancy focussed on mapping fish resources, habitats and bathymetry with high specification scientific echosounders. Jack is also an experienced HSE qualified Part IV commercial diver, and a JNCC certified Marine Mammal Observer, Passive Acoustic Monitoring operator and a BOERME Protected Species Observer.


Chris Biggs, Doctoral Student

M.S. University of the Virgin Islands (2015)
B.S. University of Washington

Chris is originally from Seattle, Washington and holds bachelor’s degrees in Economics as well as Aquatic and Fishery Science from the University of Washington. He moved to the Virgin Islands to work on coral restoration with The Nature Conservancy in 2011 and completed his master’s degree at the University of the Virgin Islands in 2015. Past research has focused on invasive lionfish in Honduras and spawning aggregations of Dog and Cubera snapper in the Caribbean using acoustic telemetry.  Currently, Chris’ research focuses on spawning aggregations in the Gulf of Mexico, which includes work with active acoustic sonar and hydrophones to monitor spawning of Spotted Seatrout.


Derek Bolser, Master’s Student

B.S. University of Florida (2016)

Derek’s research is focused on the life history, ecology, and population dynamics of aggregating marine fishes. He aims to improve decision-making in the individual growth modelling process, and will use ROV and hydroacoustic surveys to estimate fish community composition and biomass. Prior to joining the Erisman lab, his research centered around characterizing the impacts of environmental contaminants on early life stages of fish. Derek has worked as a fisheries technician, and a cross country and track coach in addition to his environmental toxicology work.


Philip Souza, Jr., Doctoral Student

M.P.S. University of Miami (2018)
B.S. Boston University

Philip was born and raised in Massachusetts but developed a passion for the marine world while snorkeling the crystalline waters of The Bahamas during summer visits to his grandmother’s home in Great Exuma. He later decided to turn his passion into a career and obtained an undergraduate degree in marine science from Boston University. After working as a shark biology intern at Mote Marine Lab (Sarasota, FL) and a fisheries observer in New England, he completed his Master’s work at the University of Miami, using visual surveys and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to describe the queen conch population on Cay Sal Bank in the Bahamas. As a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas at Austin, Philip is utilizing active acoustic sonar and passive acoustic recorders to assess the health and function of coastal ecosystems through the lens of local fish movement and behavior. The goal of his research is to gain a better understanding of the resilience of coastal ecosystems in the face of natural and anthropogenic disturbance events.


Lab Alumni

Tyler Loughran, Research Technician (2017-2019), University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute

Current: Staff Environmental Planner, Natural Resources Group, Inc., Email:



Dr. Timothy Rowell, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego (2013-2018)

Current: Postdoctoral Researcher, NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center; Email: 



Austin Richard, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2018), The University of Texas at Austin



Halie Smith, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2018), The University of Texas at Austin



Samantha Vanderhoof, NSF REU (2017), Stockton University 



Ka’ohinani Kawahigashi, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2017), The University of Texas at Austin 

Current: Graduate Student, University of Guam (w/ Dr. Terry Donaldson) 



Erin Reed, Master’s Student (2014-2017), The University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute

Current: JIMAR Fish Life History Bio-Sampling Specialist, NOAA Fisheries Inouye Regional Center, Email:



Rebecca Asch, Research Fellow (2016), University of Texas at Austin

Current: Assistant Professor of Fisheries Biology, East Carolina University


Christina Clemens, NSF REU (2016), Trinity University 


Martha Romero, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2016), The University of Texas at Austin 


Mark Lopez, Undergraduate Research Assistant (2015), The University of Texas at Austin