Current Lab Members

Justin Lombardo, MS Student

firefoxI received my bachelor's degree from UIUC in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability in December of 2022. As an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to work on a research project in northern Wisconsin studying spawning bass population dynamics. This was one of the greatest experiences of my life and really solidified my desire to further pursue research in fisheries ecology. Following graduation, I had the opportunity to work as a technician in the Sport Fish Ecology Lab at UIUC, with much of our work focused on estimating the accuracy of aging walleye and saugeye with different hard structures. Additionally, we often assisted in a study focused on tracking smallmouth bass movement in the Vermilion River.

As of May 2023, I have been working on a Master's thesis with Dr. Cory Suski and Dr. Jeff Stein aimed to address the long-term effects of angling pressure on spawning largemouth and smallmouth bass populations. My research takes place in southern Ontario where I am based out of the Queen's University Biological Station during my summer field seasons. The goal of this project is to provide managers with empirical evidence to support management practices better suited to protecting spawning bass populations.

In my free time, I enjoy fishing (especially for bass and trout), hunting and binge-watching Netflix shows with a Papa John's pizza next to me.

Jackson Glomb, Research Coordinator

firefoxI earned my BS in Biology from the University of Central Florida where I also worked as a technician in the Marine Ecology and Conservation Lab for three years. That was a really field-heavy position, focused on the effects of oyster reef and living shoreline restoration on the fish and crustacean communities in Mosquito Lagoon, FL. This position was really perfect for me, as I grew up fishing in those same waters, and it proved to be a great jumping off point for a career as a fisheries professional.

In January of 2020 (Great timing!) I packed up and moved to Athens, GA where I attended grad school, earning my MS in Fisheries and Aquatic Ecology from the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, advised by Dr. Marty Hamel. My thesis work involved quantifying the impacts of a recent hydrilla invasion on the sportfish community in a Piedmont reservoir, as well as examining the efficacy of UAV and Satellite imagery for identifying and measuring hydrilla occurrence. After finishing grad school, I stuck around Warnell for a little while as I figured out my next steps. In the meantime, I worked as a UAV pilot in the Precision Forestry Lab, and continued to hone my interpersonal and spatial analysis skills.

I joined the Suski Lab in July of 2023 as a Visiting Researcher with the main role of facilitating graduate research into the conservation of sportfish in Illinois (See Shasta and Allison's summaries for more details!), and I'll be spearheading a project examining the post-release behavior of Largemouth Bass captured in photo-release kayak fishing tournaments in the near future. I've been fortunate to work with so many incredible people up to this point, and this lab is no different. I'm really enjoying the variety of work and the collaborative environment here, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of my time at UIUC has to offer.

In my free time, I enjoy hiking, hunting, fishing, cooking, caving, and hanging out with my cat, Gumbo.

Shasta Kamara, PhD Student

firefoxI received my undergraduate degree in Marine, Freshwater and Environmental Biology from Ohio University in May 2021 and went on to complete my Master's in Marine and Environmental Biology at Nicholls State University in May 2023. In my undergraduate I helped evaluate aspects of the evolution and behavior of swordtail fishes and in my Master's I focused on the influence of coastal restoration on aquatic faunal community development.

I am now working with Dr. Cory Suski to refine current conservation and management strategies of Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) to account for potential life history differences in Paddlefish populations and determine thermal sensitivity through a combination of laboratory and field experiments.

In my spare time I enjoy fishing with friends and exploring new places!

Check out my website at

Allison Hay, MS Student

firefoxI graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Bioenvironmental Sciences and Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences in May 2021. During my time as a student, I was involved in a diverse range of research experiences. I got my start in a research setting working in a chemical ecology lab and quickly shifted focus. I received the Applied Biodiversity Sciences scholarship which funded a short research project with a graduate student in the department determining the impacts of cattle grazing on small mammal communities. With this award, I was also given a stipend to fund an internship. I ended up accepting a position as an intern on a project in H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Blue River, Oregon tracking Western Spotted Skunks and their use of old growth forests. I was also involved in stream sampling historic sites to contribute to a long-term data set. This small glimpse into freshwater ecosystems was the initiator of my career as an aquatic biologist.

After that experience, I dove headfirst into freshwater ecology. I reached out to Dr. Josh Perkin in the Riverscape Ecology Lab who gave me the awesome responsibility of conducting my own research project in his lab. The goal of this project was to determine the movement and mortality of invasive suckermouth armored catfish in the San Marcos River. With the help of Dr. Perkin and an amazing crew, I was able to publish my findings in the Journal of Biological Invasions. I learned so much from this experience, which really solidified my passion for freshwater ecology.

After graduation, I accepted a position with Colorado Parks and Wildlife as a sport fish technician in Fort Collins. I spent my days conducting routine sampling surveys in a variety of ecosystems like in-town natural areas, the wild and scenic Poudre River, and breathtaking alpine lakes. I was also involved in large scale spawning operations and habitat reclamation projects for the reintroduction of native greenback cutthroat trout. I am so thankful that I was able to gain such valuable, hands-on experience in fisheries management, and interact with so many brilliant biologists.

Now, I am working with Dr. Suski and Illinois Department of Natural Resources to quantify the movement and spatial ecology of largemouth bass following tournament release in two reservoirs.

In my free time, I love getting outside to hike, boulder, or play with my dog. I also love cooking and finding new restaurants to try out!

Katie Fitzgerald, PhD Student

firefoxI received my undergraduate degree in Natural Resource Management and Conservation from San Francisco State University. After taking a field course on the ecology of bats, I was officially hooked. This interest led to working with various agencies, such as National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I had wonderful and life changing opportunities to assist in a variety of bat related research in southern Mexico, Borneo, and Madagascar. I then completed my master's degree at Angelo State University in Texas. My master's work included the use of molecular methods to characterize seasonal variation of the diet of cave myotis (Myotis velifer) in the Chihuahuan desert.

I am now being co-advised by Dr. Cory Suski and Dr. Joy O'Keefe at UIUC. My Ph.D. research will focus on monitoring the health of Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) to determine whether forest management practices affect populations. Managed sites that are effective may provide bats with various roosting habitats and minimize competition with conspecifics. In addition to connecting to nature through science, I enjoy backpacking, watching live music, and consider myself a novice rock climber. I look forward to all that I will learn from both the labs I am a part of and exploring the Midwest!

Amy Schneider, MS Student

firefoxI received my undergraduate degree from UIUC in Integrative Biology in the spring of 2017. Immediately after graduating, I moved to Cordova, Alaska to work as a wildlife intern at Chugach National Forest. I was then fortunate enough to return to the Chugach the following summer, this time as a fisheries technician. I credit this experience with sparking my interest in fisheries science as well as my love of fishing! Following this, I spent time as a wildlife technician at Cape Hatteras National Seashore completing shorebird and sea turtle nest surveys. I also worked at Situ Biosciences, an antimicrobial testing laboratory, as a lab technician, where I was able to get great hands-on experience with a variety of bacteria, fungi, and algae. I'm excited to be back at UIUC and working with fish again in Dr. Cory Suski's lab!

My research is focusing on the role of contaminants in the stall of invasive bighead and silver carp movement in the Illinois River near Chicago. I am looking to see whether the carp are exhibiting behavioral and/or physiological responses to the pollutants that come out of the Chicago Area Waterway System. There is a strong concern about these fish having devastating effects on Great Lakes ecosystems, so understanding the reason that their movement is being impacted has important implications for future management decisions.

In my free time, I love to go camping with friends, read, hang out with my dog, and discover fun restaurants and breweries.

Lab Alumni

Name Thesis or Project Title Current Position
Dr. Clark Dennis, Postdoc, 2023 Integration of carbon dioxide into sound and bubble barriers to deter invasive fishes. Instructor, Heartland Commnity College
John Bieber, MS, 2023 Spatial ecology, habitat use, and angling vulnerability of muskellunge in Shabbona Lake: implications for management of a recreational fishery Research Coordinator, Loyola University
Dr. Katey Strailey, PhD, 2022 These turbulent times: interactions between fish and turbulence-generating simulated instream restoration structures and their influence on fish energy use and habitat selection Researcher at the Illinois Natural History Survey
Dr. Qihong Dai, PhD, 2022 How climate change and agriculture could reshape the midwestern stream fish communities Data Scientist
Dr. Jocelyn Curtis-Quick, Postdoc, 2021 Using metabolomics to define the lack of upstream movement of invasive bigheaded carp in the Illinois River. Online MS Program, University of Illinois, NRES
Dr. Aaron Zolderdo, PhD, 2021 Freshwater fish populations in eastern Ontario benefit from long standing protected areas Manager, Queen's University Biological Station
Toniann Keiling, MS, 2019 Intersection of environment, behavior and physiological traits on angling vulnerability. Fisheries Biologist, New York State DEC
Dr. Emi Tucker, PhD, 2019 Applying edge-core theory of intraspecific life-history variation to the control of invasive silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) Veterinary school, University of North Carolina
Dr. Michael Louison, PhD, 2018 Physiological and behavioral drivers of angling vulnerability in a freshwater sportfish. Assistant Professor, McKendree University
Dr. Caleb Hasler, Postdoc, 2017 Integrating physiology and behavior to prevent the spread of bigheaded carp. Assistant Professor, University of Winnipeg
Dr. Jennifer Jeffrey, Postdoc, 2017 Integrating physiology and behavior for conservation in aquatic ecosystems Post Doctoral Researcher, University of Manitoba
Eric Schneider, MS, 2017 Influence of CO2 on fishes in flowing water environments: implications for a non-physical barrier to movement Researcher, Cape Eleuthera Institute, The Bahamas
Ian Bouyoucos, MS, 2016 Aerobic and anaerobic activity metabolism of an elasmobranch PhD Student, James Cook University, Australia
Kelly Hannan, MS, 2016 The physiological effects of elevated carbon dioxide, in the context of non-physical fish barriers, on Unionid mussels PhD Student, James Cook University, Australia
John Tix, MS, 2016 Impacts of carbon dioxide on freshwater fish behaviors Fisheries Biologist, United States Geological Survey, UMESC
Dr. Steve Midway, Postdoc, 2015 Impacts of carbon dioxide exposure for fishes in a flowing water environment Assistant Professor, Louisiana State University
Dr. Aaron Shultz, PhD, 2015 The responses of subtropical nearshore fishes to climate change Climage Change Biologist, GLIFWC
Dr. Michael Donaldson
Postdoc, 2014
Use of carbon dioxide as a deterrent to the movement of fishes Content Development Manager at Canadian Science Publishing
Greg King
MS, 2014
Nutritional condition and stress response of fishes along a gradient of habitat quality in the St. Lawrence River: physiological consequences of anthropogenic habitat degradation PhD Student, University of Illinois
Clark Dennis
MS, 2014
Impact of hypercarbia on juvenile fish physiology, behavior, performance and acclimation potential PhD student, University of Minnesota
Stephanie Liss
MS, 2013
Spatial and temporal influences on the physiological condition of invasive Silver Carp Researcher, Pacific Northwest National Laboatory
David Sutter
MS, 2013
Endocrine responses to reproduction and parental are in a teleost colonial breeder Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science, Humboldt University of Berlin
Zachary Zuckerman
MS, 2012
Life history tradeoffs in a parental-care prviding fish: the role of predation, and condition on brood abandonment in largemouth bass Fisheries Biologist, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Greggory Gaulke
MS, 2012
Impacts of hypoxia on Largemouth bass behavior, physiology and acclimation potential Fisheries/Aquatic Scientist, Environmental Consulting & Technology
Zachary Blevins
MS, 2012
Land use impacts on physiological properties of fishes. Sea Lamprey Research Program Associate, Great Lakes Fishery Commission
Sean Landsman
MS, 2011
Improving catch-and-release strategies for muskellunge PhD Student, University of Prince Edward Island
Matthew VanLandeghem
MS, 2009
Impacts of environmental and anthropogenic stressors on largemouth bass - an integration of field and laboratory studies PhD Program, USGS Texas Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit
Andrew Gingerich
MS, 2009
Influence of size and nutritional status on recovery from exercise in largemouth bass Biologist, Douglas County Public Utility District