Statewide Fisheries Research - Staff
311 Natural Resources Drive
Clemson, South Carolina 29631
- James Bulak, Ph.D., Research Coordinator, Freshwater Fisheries
Phone: 803-353-8232 (office), 803-587-2738 (cell)
I am a native of Worcester, Massachusetts where my family instilled in me a love for fishing and the aquatic environment. I obtained a B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, in 1972 , an M.A. degree in Zoology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, in 1976, and a Ph.D. degree in Biological Sciences from the University of South Carolina in 1994; my dissertation title was 'Factors affecting recruitment of striped bass in the Santee-Cooper system, South Carolina.'
I began working a for the S.C. Wildlife and Marine Resources Department in 1977, working on an assessment of anadromous blueback herring. During my tenure with this agency, I have spent substantial time studying striped bass recruitment, developing an environmental assessment program, and serving as an Assistant Chief. In my present position of Research Coordinator, I oversee the applied research efforts of 6 full-time biologists and 3 Technicians. My current research efforts are focused on defining genetic structure and behavior of Great Pee Dee River striped bass, assessing age at maturity of Santee-Cooper striped bass, and developing a protocol for assessing biological effects of habitat placement in reservoirs. My overall interest is to insure that the best available, scientific information is obtained and utilized in the management efforts of the Agency.
- Jean Leitner, Wildlife Biologist III
Phone: 803-353-8232 (office), 803-609-7045 (cell)
Jean came to work for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources after receiving her 1989 BS in Aquaculture Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Clemson University. Her work experience since then has included aiding small pond owners in the management of their impoundments, genetic survey of freshwater fish populations, practices to ensure genetic diversity in hatchery populations, application and detection of fluorescent marks, and age estimation. Other professional interests include the effects of introduced species on native fish communities and monitoring effects of stocked fish on wild populations. Current projects include documenting hybridization among native and introduced black basses and identification of conservation strategies for impacted species, assessment of redbreast sunfish stocking, and a statewide data compilation and assessment of sampling strategies for black crappie.
- Jason Bettinger, Wildlife Biologist III
Phone: 803-353-8232 (office), 803-609-7044 (cell)
I earned my degrees in Fisheries Science from Virginia Tech (BS), and Tennessee Tech University (MS). My thesis described the movements of rainbow trout and brown trout in a Tennessee Tailwater and evaluated the performance of rainbow trout stocked at two sizes.
I began work with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources in 2000. My initial work with the Agency focused on stream inventory and development of the comprehensive wildlife conservation plan for aquatic resources. For the last decade my focus has been applied sportfish research primarily working with smallmouth bass and striped bass and basic research of redhorse species. Current projects include evaluating the distribution and habitat use of striped bass in relation to hydroelectric operations and artificial oxygenation, assessing the growth, condition, abundance, and diet of young-of-year fishes in the Santee-Cooper Lakes, and developing a method to monitor the smallmouth bass population in the Broad River, South Carolina. My primary goal is collecting information that informs sportfish management in reservoirs and rivers.
- Barbara Taylor, Ph.D., Wildlife Biologist III
Phone: 803-353-8232 (office), 803-360-8024 (cell)
I was trained as an aquatic and population ecologist. My education includes a B.S. in Biology from Kent State University (1973) and a Ph.D. in Zoology from University of Washington (1981). I've studied systems ranging from northern lakes to southeastern wetland ponds and reservoirs to address questions ranging from processes regulating abundances of zooplankton to radionuclide retention in an abandoned cooling reservoir to effects of year-to-year variation in weather on persistence of pond-breeding salamanders.
At the Freshwater Fisheries Research Laboratory, where I've worked since 2007, my projects have included: an assessment of the impact of nutrients from point sources in the Saluda-Reedy watershed on water quality in Lake Greenwood using watershed and lake models; development and application of a bioenergetics-based, cohort-structured population model to estimate forage requirements of brown trout under various stocking and harvest scenarios; and, currently, evaluation of the food web supporting the fisheries in Lake Marion. I enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out how these complex systems function. I hope that the insights contribute to wise stewardship of South Carolina's rich natural resources.
- Charlie Poeta, Wildlife Technician III
Phone: 803-353-8232 (office), 803-729-8212 (cell)
I am a 2010 graduate of Central Carolina Technical College with a degree in Natural Resources Management. I enjoy all aspects of the freshwater fisheries and really enjoy focusing on sportfish including black crappie and all species of bass. My duties include field sampling for all species of interest, assisting other regions, equipment maintenance, and other additional responsibilities.
- Mark Scott, Ph.D., Wildlife Biologist III
Phone: 864-654-6346 (ext 14) (office),
I have been studying freshwater wetlands, streams, rivers, and lakes since 1988, and have broad experience in aquatic ecology throughout the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States. I currently administer statewide projects out of the Clemson Research office, responsible for budgets, supervising staff, and overseeing technical operations. Projects generally involve research and monitoring focused on defining aquatic habitats necessary to sustain native species, particularly endemic southeastern fishes, mussels, and crayfishes. I provide my expertise to the study of watershed and landscape influences on freshwater ecosystems, with emphasis on gradient studies of the effects of anthropogenic perturbations on chemistry, channel morphology, and biological community structure. Through an adjunct faculty position, I collaborated with Clemson University faculty and students on a range of projects and I'm frequently invited for lectures, seminars, and symposia. My research projects have typically addressed the goals of quantifying landscape and watershed-scale influences on ecological patterns and processes in freshwaters, and obtaining appropriate data to drive development of spatially-explicit models to forecast aquatic ecosystem response to environmental change.
- Kevin Kubach, Wildlife Biologist III
Phone: (864) 982-2778
Kevin Kubach is originally from New York and grew up in Ellicott City, Maryland and Alpharetta, Georgia. His interests in nature and aquatic life were sparked by annual trips to visit his grandparents in the "mountains" of New Jersey and Maine, saltwater fishing excursions along the mid-Atlantic coast and, above all else, forays into the neighborhood woods which usually involved a stream teeming with minnows and water striders. Kevin earned his B.A. in Biology and M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from Clemson University; his thesis focused on the reintroduction of the Turquoise Darter to a South Carolina Piedmont stream. He joined the SCDNR Freshwater Fisheries Research group in 2004 and has worked on projects including the Reedy River watershed and oil spill recovery study, the South Carolina Stream Assessment, the Broad River Sediment Management Study and the Small River Assessment. His research interests include freshwater fish biodiversity and conservation, relationships among watershed factors and stream and river integrity, and recovery of aquatic assemblages from disturbance.
- Drew Gelder, Wildlife Biologist I
I graduated from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA in 2006 with a B.S. in Biology. My primary research interests include nongame fish, with special delight taken in catching bullhead catfish and bowfins! My duties include field sampling, data management, equipment maintenance, and assisting other projects when needed.
- Kenson Kanczuzewski, Wildlife Technician III
Phone: 574-220-8364 (cell)
Kenson is a graduate of Indiana University (B.A.) and Southern Illinois University (M.S.) and has worked in various fisheries positions including the USFWS in Illinois and National Park Service in Tennessee. He recently joined SCDNR Freshwater Fisheries Research group as a Technician III and hopes to expand his knowledge on South Carolina's endemic fish species and diverse habitats. Current projects include the Small River Assessment, Broad River Sediment Management Study and other studies conducted by the Research unit.
- Tom Daniel, Fisheries Technician
Phone: 864-654-6346 (main office)
Tom became interested in aquatic ecology at an early age through science-based summer camps and catching crayfish in the local creeks near his childhood home in Virginia. He earned his A.A. degree from Tyler Junior College (Tyler, TX), and his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Natural Resources from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY). His graduate research focused on the effects of thermal stress on survival of brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in New York's Adirondack Park. While working as a research aide IV for Cornell's Adirondack Fisheries Research Program, Tom conducted several mark-recapture studies and various other projects, including the removal of non-native black bass from study lakes. Past projects also include a larval fish entrainment study, as well as documenting the spread of the invasive round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) through the New York State Canal System. His broad research interests range from population dynamics of salmonine fishes to the landscape-scale conservation of South Carolina's beautiful streams, lakes, and rivers. An avid angler, you will often find Tom near the water - maybe seeking the next big lunker or scanning the stream bank for native mussel shells.