Joseph D Schmitt, PhD

I am a Fish Biologist at the Lake Erie Biological Station. I have wide research interests including food web interactions, invasion ecology, conservation biology, and habitat assessment for coldwater species.


I began working at the Great Lakes Science Center as a Pathways Intern in 2017, and was converted to full time in 2018. Most of my previous research was limited to inland reservoirs (Oklahoma), large estuaries (Chesapeake Bay), or marine evironments (Gulf of Maine). Lake Erie has been interesting, as it is a dynamic and complex system that is susceptible to large-scale harmful algal blooms in the west basin and widespread hypoxia/anoxia in the central basin. I am currently exploring how these phenomena, along with warming lake temperatures, will affect oxythermal habitat for coldwater species, like burbot, whitefish, and lake trout, moving forward. I am also exploring long term trends in the feeding ecology of percids in Lake Erie. I include my educational background and my work from previous positions below.



2005, B.S. Biology, summa cum laude, Christopher Newport University

2012, M.S. Fisheries and Aquatic Ecology, Oklahoma State University

2018, PhD, Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech


Other publications:


In press and in review

Schmitt, J.D., O’Malley, B.P., Vandergoot, C.S., and R. T. Kraus. 2020 In Press. Does Lake Erie still have sufficient oxythermal habitat to support cisco Coregonus artedi? Journal of Great Lakes Research. 46(2): xx-xx.

Hilling, C.B., Jiao, Y., Bunch, A.J. Greenlee, R.S., Schmitt, J.D. and D.J. Orth. In Review. Long-term Declining Growth Trajectories of Invasive Blue Catfish in Four Tidal Tributaries of Chesapeake Bay. Submitted to Catfish 2020: Special Edition of the North American Journal of Fisheries Management. UJFM UJFM-2020-0001.

Kraus, R. T., Schmitt, J.D., and K. R. Keretz. In Review. Evidence for resource competition between a freshwater fish and an intraguild exotic. Submitted to Freshwater Biology. FWB-P-Dec-19-0614.

Orth, D.J., Schmitt, J.D., and C.D. Hilling. In Review. Hyperbole, Simile, Metaphor, Invasivore: Messaging Around the Science of a Blue Catfish Invasion. Submitted to Catfish 2020: Special Edition North American Journal of Fisheries Management. UJFM-2019-0231.



Schmitt, J.D., Emmel, J.A., Bunch, A.J., Hilling, C.D., and D.J. Orth. 2019. Feeding Ecology and Distribution of an Invasive Apex Predator: Flathead Catfish Pylodictis olivaris in subestuaries of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, USA. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 39:390-403.

Schmitt, J.D., B.K. Peoples, A. J. Bunch, L. Castello, and D. J. Orth. 2019. Modeling the predation dynamics of invasive blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) in the Chesapeake Bay. Fishery Bulletin 117(4): 277-290.  

Schmitt, J.D., B. K. Peoples, L. Castello, and D.J. Orth. 2019. Feeding ecology of generalist consumers: a case study of invasive Blue Catfish Ictalurus furcatus in the Chesapeake Bay. Environmental Biology of Fishes 102(3): 443-465.

Hilling, C.D., A. J. Bunch, J. A. Emmel, J. D. Schmitt, and D. J. Orth. 2019. Growth and mortality of invasive flathead catfish in the tidal James River, Virginia. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management. 10(2):641–652.

Schmitt, J.D., A. Bunch., Moran, Z., Emmel, J.A., Hallerman, E.M., and D.J. Orth. 2017. Predation and selectivity of anadromous alosines by non-native catfish in an Atlantic estuary. Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science. 9(1):108-125.

Schmitt, J.D., Gedamke, T., DuPaul, W. D., and J. A. Musick. 2015. Ontogenetic and sex-specific shifts in the feeding habits of the barndoor skate Dipturus laevis on Georges Bank. Marine and Coastal Fisheries Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science. 7(1): 409-418.

Schmitt, J.D. and D.J. Orth. 2015. First record of pughead deformity in Blue Catfish Ictalurus furcatus. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 144(6):1111-1116.

Moran, Z., Orth, D. J., Schmitt, J. D., Hallerman, E.M., and R. Aquilar. 2015. Effectiveness of DNA barcoding for identifying piscine prey items in stomach contents of piscivorous catfish. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 98:1-7.

Schmitt, J.D., and Shoup, D.E. 2013. Delayed hooking mortality of Blue Catfish Ictalurus furcatus caught on juglines. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 33(2): 245-254.


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