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Assistant Professor
  Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries
Office: 51-B McCord Hall
Phone: (865) 974-8752
Email: jalfor12@utk.edu

Focus: Fishery conservation and management

  • Fisheries ecology and management, stream ecology, environmental quality, aquatic habitat modeling, Lake sturgeon population dynamics, recirculation aquaculture
Educational & Research Programs
  • Recovery of Lake sturgeon in the Tennessee River
  • Watershed-scale land use impacts to aquatic communities
  • Recirculation aquaculture for sustainable fish production

  • Fisheries Techniques (FWF 442)

Biographical sketch

Dr. Brian Alford is an Assistant Professor of Fishery Conservation and Management in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries at the University of Tennessee. He grew up in Vicksburg, Mississippi and earned his B.S. in Biological Sciences (1997) and M.S. in Environmental Biology (2005) from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. For his Master’s thesis, he studied the predation ecology of four sympatric darter species (Etheostoma lynceum, E. stigmaeum, E. swaini, and Percina nigrofasciata) on benthic macroinvertebrates in south Mississippi. In 2008, he completed his Ph.D. in Forest Resources from the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture at Mississippi State University, emphasizing in Fisheries Management. For his doctoral dissertation he studied hierarchical relationships among ecoregion, watershed, riparian and instream habitat for sport fishes in Mississippi wadeable streams.

Brian has also spent time during his career monitoring water quality as an environmental scientist for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, and as a field technician surveying freshwater mussels in the Upper Cape Fear River Basin at North Carolina State University. He was also the research coordinator at Mississippi State University for assessing post-Hurricane Katrina restoration of catfish (Ictaluridae) and largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) fisheries in the Pascagoula River Basin.

From 2008-2013, Brian worked as a fisheries research biologist for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in Baton Rouge. Here he conducted research projects on non-game aquatic resources, including the study of land use and instream habitat influences on wadeable stream fish assemblages in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin and population characteristics of rare, stream-dwelling crayfishes in the Calcasieu River Basin. He also generated predictive models of flood duration and magnitude in the Atchafalaya River Basin for the management of its recreational and commercial fisheries, developed optimization models to assess impacts of salinity changes on nekton assemblages in the Barataria estuary, and created environmental models that predict commercial harvest of panaeid shrimp in the Barataria and Terrebone estuaries. Brian was also responsible for developing fishery-independent monitoring programs for the agency following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as Louisiana’s new creel survey program for estimating recreational angler harvest of the state’s offshore and inshore marine fisheries.

Since arriving at the University of Tennessee in October 2013, Brian’s research interests include the restoration ecology of Lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) in the Tennessee River system, and the effects of land use, water quality and climate change on fish, crayfish, mussel, and aquatic insect fauna in Tennessee and abroad. In addition, with a focus on environmental stewardship and ecosystem-based science, Brian conducts research that will enhance the conservation and management of recreational and commercial fisheries in Tennessee and the rest of the world.

He will be teaching Fisheries Techniques (WFS 442) during Fall Camp and is developing spring semester classes for undergraduate and graduate students, which will include Ecology and Management of Fisheries and Quantitative Fisheries Methods.

Currently, he resides in Knoxville with his wife Amy. They enjoy spending time outdoors and getting lost in new places.

Recent Publications


Ph.D. Forest Resources, Mississippi State University, 2008
M.S. Environmental Biology, The University of Southern Mississippi, 2005
B.S. Biological Sciences, The University of Southern Mississippi, 1997