Corbin Hilling


Dr. Corbin Hilling recently completed his PhD as Virginia Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellow at Virginia Tech. Corbin's doctoral work focused on blue catfish population dynamics within the Chesapeake Bay tributaries of  Virginia. His work examined variability of growth rates over time and river systems, which has implications for feeding habits (large blue catfish eat more fish prey) and trophy fishing opportunities. Further, Corbin is developed a population dynamics model that described changes in population size and structure over time. Using this model, Corbin simulated populations under various fishing regulations to help fishery managers develop management strategies that consider trade-offs and uncertainty.


Corbin is originally from Morgantown, West Virginia, where he completed a bachelor's degree in biology in 2013 and a master's in wildlife and fisheries resources in 2015 at West Virginia University. At WVU, Corbin's master's thesis examined population characteristics of a channel catfish population in a central-Appalachian hydropower reservoir. Corbin's research interests are in fisheries management, invasive species management, population dynamics and decision analysis. Corbin spends most of his free time fishing for a variety of species, mostly from his kayak. He frequently fishes the New River near Virginia Tech's campus for Smallmouth Bass, but is extremely enthusiastic about ice fishing. Since graduating, Corbin works at the University of Toledo on the St. Clair-Detroit River System to develop a long-term ecosystem monitoring program.

Click here for Corbin's personal website, including photos of fishes from Chesapeake Bay tributaries and beyond!

Joe Schmitt

Dr. Joe Schmitt operatated this site from 2015 until the summer of 2018, as a Ph.D. student and Virginia Sea Grant Fellow. Dr. Schmitt's disseration work assessed the predatory impacts of non-native catfish on native species in the Chesapeake Bay. His research team handled over 17,000 catfish at more than 500 locations on the James, Pamunkey, Mattaponi, and Rappahanock rivers, making his one of the largest, most comprehensive diet studies ever conducted. Dr. Schmitt's work addressed 1)  what  non-native catfish feed on 2)  how their diet changed both seasonally and spatially 3)  how much blue catfish can eat (maximum daily ration). Dr. Schmitt is now a biologist for the United States Geological Survey, working out of the Lake Erie Biological Station in Sandusky, Ohio. 

Dr. Schmitt's news articles and presentations:

Fellow studies blue catfish in the Chesapeake Bay 

DNA confirms it - non-native catfish eat at risk species

Big catfish and America's founding fish

Click here for Dr. Schmitt's personal website and here for his USGS webpage.