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About Us

MRRI Director
Mike DensonMike Denson is the senior scientist and leader of the Estuarine Finfish Research Section (Mariculture, Genetics, Inshore fish) at the Marine Resources Research Institute. He coordinates all aquaculture and stock enhancement research at the Marine Division. He has worked in mariculture at the SCDNR since 1993. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Southampton College/Long Island University and a Masters and Ph.D. in Aquaculture, Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Clemson University. Mike has conducted research on the culture and production of marine and freshwater fin-fishes (10 species), crustaceans (4 species), bivalves (3 species), and algae (8 species) and has experience with culture system design, larval culture of marine fish species, fish ecology and habitat usage, and stock enhancement of commercially and recreationally important species. The SCDNR currently stocks four recreationally important species as part of its marine stocking research program and conducts empirical studies using cultured animals to better understand population dynamics and life history traits of wild fish to improve management.
Estuarine Finfish
Tanya DardenTanya Darden supervises the population genetics team at SCDNR. She joined SCDNR in 2007 after completing her BS at the University of Texas at Austin, MS and PhD at the University of Southern Mississippi, and teaching at the College of Charleston. She has experience in a wide range of research areas working with both freshwater and marine fishes. Our team works collaboratively on all research projects with groups both within and external to DNR. Our research umbrella focuses on developing and implementing genetic tools for diverse applications, from traditional population genetics to assessing environmental impacts, all with the ultimate goal of improving the science available to fisheries managers. As both natural and anthropogenic pressures on recreational and commercial fisheries change, effective management of these populations will become even more important to their sustainability.
Mariculture
Karl BrenkertKarl Brenkert began working for the SCDNR in 2004. Prior to joining the DNR Karl worked for the Southland Fisheries Corp. and Mote Marine Laboratory. He holds a M.S. in Marine Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Florida. Karl has successfully spawned and reared many recreational saltwater species including red drum, cobia, spotted seatrout, striped bass, snook, pompano, mutton snapper, and black sea bass. His professional interests include aquaculture, stock enhancement and applied fisheries research.
Justin YostJustin Yost - Undergraduate in Biology at the College of Charleston in 2004. Intern with the Shrimp Infectious Disease Lab at DNR in 2004. Biologist with the Mariculture section at DNR in 2005 to present.

Work includes: husbandry on broodstock tank, photo/thermal manipulation for spawning, production and stocking logistics for stock enhancement research of red drum, spotted seatrout, striped bass, and cobia, age and growth of cobia, feed study to reduce phosphorus concentrations in effluent water, examination of metabolic effects due to dietary limitations in red drum
Matt PerkinsonMatt Perkinson completed his undergraduate study at the University of North Carolina, and moved to Charleston to complete his Masters in Environmental Studies at the College of Charleston. He has worked with the Department of Natural Resources since 2007. His professional interests include stock enhancement research, estuarine ecology, and marine fisheries management. Matt is an avid fisherman and outdoorsman.
Andrew Grosse Andrew Grosse graduated from the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources with Bachelors and Masters degrees in wildlife biology. His Masters focused on evaluating the effects of both roads and crabbing activities on diamondback terrapin populations throughout Georgia. After graduating, he was employed at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL) where he was involved in various projects related to reptile and amphibian conservation and biology and stream ecology. After moving to Charleston in 2011, he was employed and currently works as a biologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division. As a biologist, he is involved in a variety of projects related to diamondback terrapin biology and conservation, aquaculture, stocking and long-term surveys of recreationally important fish species, including red drum, spotted seatrout and striped bass.
Leeann HaseldenLeeann Haselden began work as a mariculture technician in the summer of 2011 participating in ongoing research on the reproductive biology of Red Drum and Spotted Sea Trout. Her priorities include maintaining the overall health of broodstock, aquarium husbandry, monitoring water quality, and assisting in affiliated research as time permits. She is presently conducting flume studies and researching the effect of parasitism on Spotted Seatrout in the Charleston Harbor. Leeann will begin graduate studies in the MES program at the College of Charleston this summer.
Katie AnweilerKatie Anweiler completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame, and moved to South Carolina in 2010 to conduct her graduate work at the College of Charleston, in collaboration with the SC Department of Natural Resources. Her master's research focused on determining the low-temperature tolerance of spotted seatrout, in order to estimate mortality during winter kill events. Katie graduated in May 2013 and currently works as a biologist at the SCDNR. Her work includes performing daily animal husbandry, participating in stocking efforts, and conducting ongoing research on spotted seatrout and striped bass survival at temperature extremes.
Mata McAskillMata McAskill graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology and a minor in Aquaculture and Aquarium Sciences from Roger Williams University. He moved to Charleston and began working for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources at the Marine Resources Research Institute in June 2013. His professional interests include aquaculture, stock enhancement research, and applied fisheries research. At the SCDNR, he focuses on animal husbandry, assisting his peers with research, aquaculture system maintenance, and the spawning/production of red drum, spotted sea trout, and striped bass. He is interested in applying to the graduate studies in the MES program at the College of Charleston within the next few years. Mata is an avid free diver and spear fisherman.
Aaron WatsonAaron Watson received a B.S. in marine biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, an M.S. in Marine Science from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Ph.D. in Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park. Aaron’s research focus is on developing improved feeds for aquaculture that reduce the use of fishmeal and fish oil for a variety of species in intensive culture, developing fast, cost effective methods to evaluate diet performance, and evaluating new ingredients for the inclusion in aquaculture feeds.
Population Genetics
Matt J. WalkerMatt J. Walker was born and raised in Charleston, SC. He attended East Carolina University where he earned a B.S. and a M.S. in biology. Matt’s undergraduate and graduate research focus was millipede systematics, particularly phylogeography of the genus Narceus Rafinesque 1820 (Spirobolida, Spirobolidae). Matt came to the SCDNR in the summer of 2008 to work as a biologist in the population genetics lab where he has focused on a wide range of projects, from general fish population genetics and stock enhancement research to genetic age estimation of fishes.
Elizabeth CushmanElizabeth Cushman originally hails from Tampa, Florida. She received a B.S. in Molecular Biology from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Pam Beach, FL in 2005 and a M.S. in Marine Science from the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC in 2008. She began working with the SCDNR in 2008 and is presently employed as a Wildlife Biologist II in the SCDNR population genetics lab. Her interests and current research are focused on population genetics and parentage analysis of American shad (Alosa sapidissima), Atlantic blue crab (Callinectes sapidus), and red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus).
Daniel FarraeDaniel Farrae was born in New Orleans, LA and earned a B.S. at Loyola University New Orleans. He then worked for a year as the laboratory manager at the Nekton Research Laboratory at the University of New Orleans spending much of his time sampling fish and invertebrates throughout southeast Louisiana habitats. Daniel earned his M.S. in fish biology from the University of Georgia in 2010 and wrote his thesis on the population dynamics and habitat use of shortnose sturgeon. He began working as a Biologist in SCDNR’s Fish Population Genetics Lab in February 2010 and has primarily focused on striped bass population genetics and the assessment of telomeres as a genetic aging tool for sturgeon species.
Margaret Jamison (Maggie)Margaret Jamison (Maggie) earned a B.S. in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston in 2009. Upon graduation, she began her career at the SCNDR as an hourly in the Mariculture section. During that time, she worked in stock enhancement research with red drum, striped bass, and cobia and developed a background in animal husbandry and pond management techniques. After a year in mariculture, she transitioned to a biologist position in the population genetics lab. Her main focus has been the application of population genetics to address management questions with recreational species such as red drum, cobia, and weakfish. In 2012, she became a Masters candidate at the College of Charleston in the Masters of Environmental Studies program and is working to gain a broader perspective of the roles of policy and research in fisheries management.
Tim O’DonnellTim O’Donnell received his B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Penn State in 2010. He completed his M.S. in Marine Biology at the College of Charleston working with the population genetics lab in 2013. His master’s thesis focused on the genetic population structure of and temporal changes in genetic diversity of spotted seatrout in the southeast U.S. from North Carolina to Georgia. He is now a biologist with the SCDNR in the genetics lab and continues to focus on spotted seatrout, with additional involvement in other projects focusing on striped bass and red drum.
Waddell Mariculture Center
Al StokeAl Stokes is the Manager of the Waddell Mariculture Center and has been involved in aquaculture and fishery management for more than 35 years. Al’s time is directed towards managing the center’s facilities and supporting the center’s crustacean and marine finfish research programs.
Deliah ArringtonDeliah Arrington - Dee received an undergraduate degree in Aquaculture, Fisheries, and Wildlife Biology from Clemson University and worked with the DNR Marine Infectious Disease Lab from 2005 to 2008. Currently, she works as Pond Manager at the Waddell Mariculture Center. She is experienced with the production of Red Drum, Cobia, Spotted Sea Trout, and Striped Bass.
Gregory KnotheGregory Knothe completed his undergraduate degree in biology and environmental studies at Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. Upon graduation Greg began working as an aquatic ecology technician at the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research center in Southwest Georgia working on a variety of projects including long term water quality, and mussel, invertebrate and fish studies. Greg completed his masters in collaboration with the Environmental Institute of Houston in environmental biology at the University of Houston Clear Lake which involved the use of GIS spatial analysis to study the influence of urbanization on coastal fish communities, water quality and stream physical habitats. Greg is currently a Wildlife Biologist with South Carolina Department of Natural Resources at the Waddell Mariculture Center in Bluffton where he is involved with the aquaculture, research and husbandry of striped bass, red drum, spotted seatrout and cobia.
Angelo CamarranoAngelo Camarrano is a native of New Jersery and has been at the Waddell Mariculture Center for over 15 years. His work includes monitoring water quality, maintaining all animal husbandry in experimental tanks and assisting with all aspects of fish production. He is also involved in many research projects conducted at Waddell.