Travis Brenden, Ph.D.

Travis Brenden

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Professor; Director, Quantitative Fisheries Center
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife



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  • Ph.D., Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2005
  • M.S., Statistics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2001
  • M.S., Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1999
  • B.S., Biological Sciences, South Dakota State University, 1996


I originally am from South Dakota and graduated with a BS degree in Biological Sciences from South Dakota State University.  I then attended Virginia Tech and received MS and PhD degrees in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences; I also received an MS degree in Statistics.  Shortly before completing my PhD, I moved to Michigan and was employed as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Michigan.

My assignment in the Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife is 55% research, 10% instruction, 20% extension/outreach, and 15% service/administration. I serve as co-Director of the Quantitative Fisheries Center, (QFC;, a research, outreach, and education center that provides analytic and modeling assistance to fishery management agencies within the Great Lakes region. Prior to serving as co-Director, I was Associate Director for the QFC from 2006 to 2021. I develop, apply, and teach simulation modeling and advanced data analytic/computational techniques to address contemporary fishery management challenges.


My recent research has focused on three primary themes: 1) the assessment and management of fisheries that exploit fish from multiple spawning populations (i.e., intermixed fisheries); 2) modeling/research to inform invasive species control efforts; and 3) modeling to combat pathogen outbreaks in fish populations. My research program is closely aligned with my outreach efforts and many of my research projects originated from outreach interactions with QFC supporting partner biologists.