Marine Fisheries Research: Russel Brodie

Russel conducts fisheries-independent research in northeastern Florida waters.


Russell Brodie
Northeast Florida Fisheries-Independent Monitoring (FIM)
Jacksonville University FWRI Field Lab

B.S Marine Biology from Florida Institute of Technology
Melbourne, Florida (1997)

Began working for FWC in 1997 at the Indian River Field Lab as an OPS in the FIM program; Moved to Jacksonville in 2001 to help initiate the northeast Florida FIM program; Research Administrator I for the Northeast Florida FIM program in 2002-present

What are you working on now? 
Routine monthly fisheries sampling of northeast Florida estuaries; Reef fish studies (Red Snapper and grouper spawning aggregations, Cooperative East Coast Red Snapper Tagging project, Juvenile Red Snapper survey); Minimum-flow studies in the St. Johns River

How is this information beneficial? 
The data these projects collect are beneficial to understanding the life history of a variety of different species that are economically or recreationally important. The data can be used to provide estimates of the relative abundance of species, the size and age structure of populations, as well as distribution and habitat use patterns; These projects also provide important information needed by fisheries managers to effectively assess and manage different fishery resources in Florida.

What is your typical work day like? 
I am sure most would agree, there is no “typical day” in fisheries research, or any other science field for that matter. Some days I may be dealing with administrative issues (budgets, personnel, scheduling, purchasing, writing grant reports or proposals, etc.) and the next I may be in the field participating in our routine fisheries sampling or dealing with gear or boat repairs that need to be done to make sure we complete our scheduled field sampling. It really changes day-to-day and that is what makes it interesting. As is true with many careers, you really have to be able to adapt quickly as you never know what might be coming your way.

What is your greatest career accomplishment? 
By far my biggest career accomplishment has been being involved with the northeast Florida FIM program from its initiation. We started with just four staff in some very “humble” accommodations and to see the lab grow over the years to where we are today and the research we are involved with, has been quite rewarding and fulfilling.

What are some of your biggest challenges? 
My biggest challenge is effectively managing and overseeing the different projects and grants our lab is involved with (estuarine sampling, offshore sampling) and balancing that with the administrative tasks that are required of me; the scheduling and logistics are the hardest aspects.

What do you like most about your career? 
I really like the fact that each day brings a new set of challenges. It may seem overwhelming at times, but it is never dull. I also like the fact that the various research projects I am involved with continue to raise new questions and insight, so you never stop learning and growing professionally; also the people – it’s all about the people and I have been fortunate enough to work with great folks over the years and have forged some life-long friendships that truly make my job enjoyable.

Was this your original career interest? Why or why not? 
No, I began my college career as an Architecture Major at Syracuse University, but quickly learned that I wanted to be involved with the field of science; though I still appreciate fine architecture

What would you be doing if you weren’t involved in science? 
Not sure, but it would definitely be something that kept me outdoors; maybe a skilled trade where I got to work with my hands and build things.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a career in your field?
The best advice I could give someone is to get as much practical experience as you can either through internships or simply volunteering your time to a project that interests you. The more experience you have the better off you will be; also attend scientific meetings and network as much as you can.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Spending time with my family; fishing; woodworking; gardening; antique hunting; coin collecting

FWC Facts:
Red tides have been documented along Florida's Gulf coast since the 1840s and likely occurred earlier. Fish kills around Tampa Bay were mentioned in the logs of Spanish explorers.

Learn More at AskFWC