Titus “Dr. Fish” Seilheimer

Fisheries Specialist
Home state: Wisconsin
Research Institution: Wisconsin Sea Grant, University of Wisconsin
What got you interested in science and how did you end up as a Great Lakes scientist?

I grew up around the water of northwestern Wisconsin’s Northwoods lakes, swamps, and bogs. Ecology was always an interest to me and when I took a limnology class I realized that I could study water for a living! My introduction to Great Lakes science began with my graduate research in the fish habitat of Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Although I spent several years studying the fish habitat of springs and streams in Oklahoma, most of my careers has been in the Great Lakes. I am now a fisheries specialist with Wisconsin Sea Grant where my job includes a mix of research, outreach, and education.

Describe your research related to the Great Lakes.

I work closely with Wisconsin’s commercial fishing industry to study the patterns in harvest and bycatch associated with different fishing gear types. I also monitor fish assemblages in wetland and beach habitats.

Describe an experience you have had working with educators or the community. What was something that surprised you or that you especially enjoyed about the experience?

I have worked closely with both educators and the community. The Great Lakes are a globally unique resource that I am proud to share with coastal residents, students, and educators. Hands-on activities on the coast have the most impact and give people the opportunity to try out the techniques that scientists use everyday. It is especially fun to watch people try out waders for the first time and realize that there are fish in the water all around them!

Why do you think it is important for scientists to share their research with educators?

The Great Lakes are a special place and provide an opportunity to find their ways into all parts of education. Any subject that educators are teaching can easily include Great Lakes topics outside of science, from the math of limnology to the history of shipwrecks and the settling of the Great Lakes region.

What do you think are the most critical skills for students interested in a career in science?

Critical thinking is a key skill to possess when pursuing a career in science, along with problem solving. I was able to build a strong set of skills during a liberal arts undergraduate education that may not have included classes on fish, but I have made up for missing that coursework in fish with years of experience in the field.

Contact Titus “Dr. Fish” Seilheimer: [email protected]