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Ph.D., 2004, University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Science

Fish ecology, population modeling and life history theory

Frisk Laboratory page

Google Scholar Profile



Research Interests

Michael Frisk’s research focuses on the interaction of population dynamics, ecology and life history evolution in fishes in the general areas of applied ecosystem and population modeling, basic ecological questions and meta-analyses. He is developing a length-based statistical catch-at-age model for winter skate in the western Atlantic and a multi-species model of Delaware Bay using Ecopath and Ecosim. Knowledge of a species’ basic vital rates and ecology is essential for development of population models and management. For example, Frisk has estimated growth, age, fecundity and maturation for little skate and winter skate in the western Atlantic. Lastly, meta-analyses use previously published data to develop mathematical and statistical trends of related species to gain insight into the ecology, evolution and management of animal taxa. In this vein, Frisk’s current research focuses on developing meta-analyses for elasmobranchs and teleost species.




O’Leary SJ, Hice LA, Feldheim KA, MG Frisk, McElroy AE, et al. (2013) Severe Inbreeding and Small Effective Number of Breeders in a Formerly Abundant Marine Fish. PLoS ONE 8(6): e66126. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066126

Frisk, M.G., Jordaan, A., and T.J. Miller (2013). Moving beyond the current paradigm in marine population connectivity: Are adults the missing link?” Fish and Fisheries. Published online: 21 JAN 2013.

Chapman, D.D., Frisk, M.G., D.L. Abercrombie, C. Safina, S.H. Gruber, E.A. Babcock, K.A. Feldheim, E. Pikitch, B. Davis, M. Heithaus, B. Worm (2013). Giving shark sanctuaries a chance (Letters). Science 339: 757.

Jordaan, A., M.G. Frisk, L.S. Incze, N.H. Wolff, L. Hamlin and Y. Chen (2013). Multivariate dissemination of species assemblages: biodiversity proxies for use in marine spatial planning. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 2013, 70(2): 316-329.

Hall, C.J., A. Jordaan, and M.G. Frisk (2012). Centuries of anadromous forage fish loss: consequences for ecosystem connectivity and productivity. Bioscience 62(8): 723-731.

Dunton, K.J, D. Chapman, A. Jordaan, K. Feldheim, S.J. O’Leary, K.A. McKown and M.G. Frisk (2012). Fisheries independent genetic mixed-stock analysis of Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus) in the New York Bight: evidence for coast-wide consequences of bycatch and benefits of area protection. Journal of Fish Biology 80, 207–217.

Weinstein, M.P., Litvin S.Y. and M.G. Frisk (2012). Reversing Two Centuries of Wetland Degradation: Can Science Better Inform Policy and Practice? Chapter in Sustainability Science: The Emerging Paradigm and the Urban Environment edited by M.P. Weinstein and R.E. Turner. Pages 353-382.

Nuttall, M.A, Jordaan, A., Cerrato, R.M., and M.G. Frisk (2011). Identifying 120 years of decline in ecosystem structure and maturity of Great South Bay, New York using the Ecopath modelling approach. Ecological Modelling 222(2011) 3335-3345.

Sagarese, S.R. Cerrato, R.M. and M.G. Frisk (2011). Diet Composition and Feeding Habits of Common Fishes in Long Island Bays, New York. Northeastern Naturalist 18(3):291-314.

Sagarese, S.R. and M.G. Frisk (2011). Movements and residence of adult winter flounder, Pseudopleuronectes americanus, within a Long Island (NY) Estuary. Marine and Coastal Fisheries 3:295-306.

Frisk, M.G., D. Duplisea, V. Trenkel (2011). Exploring the occupancy-abundance relationships for the Georges Bank finfish and shellfish community from 1963-2006. Ecological Applications 21(1):227-240.

Hall, C.J., A. Jordaan, M.G. Frisk (2011). The historic influence of dams on diadromous fish habitat with a focus on river herring and hydrologic connectivity. Landscape Ecology 26:95-107.

Frisk, M.G., T.J. Miller, R.J. Latour and S. J. D. Martell (2011). Assessing biomass gains from marsh restoration in Delaware Bay using Ecopath with Ecosim. Ecological Modelling 222(2011)190-200.

Dunton, K.J. A.Jordaan, D.O. Conover, K.A. McKown, and M.G. Frisk (2010). Abundance and distribution of Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus) within the Atlantic Ocean inferred from spatial and habitat analyses of five fishery independent surveys. Fishery Bulletin108(4) pp. 450-465.

Sagarese, S.R. and M.G. Frisk (2010). An Investigation on the Effect of Photoperiod and Temperature on Vertebral Band Deposition in Little Skate, Leucoraja erinacea. Journal of Fish Biology 77:935-946.

Frisk, M.G., S.J.D. Martell, T.J. Miller and K. Sosebee (2010). Exploring the population dynamics of winter skate (Leucoraja ocellata) in the Georges Bank region using a statistical catch-at-age model incorporating length, migration and recruitment process errors.Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 67(5): 774-792.

Frisk, M.G. (2010). Life History Strategies of Batoids. Chapter for Biology of Sharks and their relatives Vol. 2.: Physiological Adaptations, Behavior, Ecology, Conservation and Management of Sharks and Their Relatives, Edited by J.C. Carrier, J.A. Musick and M.R Heithaus.

Frisk, M.G. and T.J. Miller (2009). Maturation of little skate, Leucoraja erinacea, and winter skate, Leucoraja ocellata in the western Atlantic from Cape Hatteras to Georges Bank. Marine and Coastal Fisheries 1(1) pp. 1-10.

Frisk, M.G., T.J. Miller, S.J.D. Martell, and K. Sosebee (2008). New hypothesis helps explain elasmobranch “outburst” on Georges Bank in the 1980’s. Ecological Applications 18(1) pp. 234-245.

Frisk, M.G. and T.J. Miller (2006). Age, growth, and latitudinal patterns of two Rajidae species in the northwestern Atlantic: little skate,Leucoraja erinacea, and winter skate, Leucoraja ocellata. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 63 pp 1078-1091.

Alvarado Bremer, J.R., M.G. Frisk, T.J. Miller, J. Turner, J. Viñas and K. Kwil (2005). Genetic identification of the cryptic juveniles of little skate and winter skate. Journal of Fish Biology 66(4): 1177-1182.

Frisk, M.G., N.K. Dulvy and T.J. Miller (2005). Life histories and vulnerability to exploitation of elasmobranchs: Inferences from elasticity, perturbation and phylogenetic analyses. Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fishery Science: Vol. 35. Special issue from the symposium on elasmobranch population dynamics held in Spain 2002.

Miller T.J., Frisk, M.G., Fogarty M.J. (2003). Comment on Mollet and Cailliet (2002): confronting models with data. Marine and Freshwater Research 54 (6): 737-738.

Frisk, M.G., T.J. Miller and M.J. Fogarty (2002). The population dynamics of little skate Leucoraja erinacea, winter skate Leucoraja ocellata, and barndoor skate Dipturus laevis: predicting exploitation limits using matrix analyses. ICES Journal of Marine Science 59 (3): 576-586.

Frisk, M.G., T.J. Miller and M.J. Fogarty (2001). Estimation and analysis of biological parameters in elasmobranch fishes: a comparative life history study. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 58(5): 969-981.


Published – ICES

Duplisea, D., M.G. Frisk and V. Trenkel (2009). Does range size contraction of Georges Bank fishes signal an extinction debt caused by habitat destruction? ICES CM 2009/H:07 15pp.

Frisk, M.G., D. Duplisea, V. Trenkel (2008). Exploring the occupancy-abundance relationships for the Georges Bank finfish and shellfish community from 1963-2006. ICES CM 2008/M:15. pp 20.

ICES 2008 (Contributing author). Report of the working group on fish ecology (WGFE) ICES CM 2008/LRC:04 119pp.

ICES 2007 (Contributing author). Report of the working group on fish ecology (WGFE) ICES CM 2007/LRC:03 211pp.

Jordaan, A, M. G. Frisk, N. H. Wolff, L. S. Incze, L. Hamlin and Y. Chen (2007). Structure of fish assemblages along the Northeastern United States based on trawl survey data: indicators of biodiversity and a basis for ecosystem and area-based management. ICES CM 2007/A:05.



Frisk, M.G., T.J. Miller, R.J. Latour and S.J.D. Martell (2005). An ecosystem model of Delaware Bay. Prepared for PSEG, New Jersey. pp. 161.

SoMAS Student Spending Summer with the Sharks

Picture above:  SoMAS PhD student Lisa Crawford, fishing for sharks!  Photo by Charles Witek. We caught up with Stony Brook University Graduate Student Lisa Crawford during a busy summer field season, and she shared some of her summer adventures with us. Who are you? ...

SoMAS Convocation 2019

Photo above: Dean Shepson welcomes the Class of 2019 at the SoMAS Convocation. Congratulations to our graduates!  The annual SoMAS Convocation occurred on Friday, May 24, 2019 at the Center for Leadership and Service. Students gathered with their friends and family...

Two SoMAS Teams Awarded Ocean Research Grants to Study Waters off NY

Photo above: New York Bight Whale Monitoring Program. Property of NYSDEC and the aerial survey contractor, Tetra Tech From Two SBU Teams Awarded Ocean Research Grants to Study Waters off NY on Stony Brook News, February 6, 2019. Nearly $570,000 in ocean research...

SoMAS MCP Students Spend Winter at Cape Eleuthera

Photo above: Marine Conservation and Policy Students at Cape Eleuthera Institute during a two-week field research class in Eleuthera Over Winter Break, Marine Conservation and Policy students participated in a field course held in collaboration with The Cape Eleuthera...

Retrospective Banquet 2017

Interim Dean Larry Swanson thanks everyone who joined us at our Retrospective Event: This wonderful event brought us all together to reminisce, reflect, and look hopefully to the future." Many thanks to our colleagues who helped put the evening together. They include:...

SoMAS Professors Share Expertise and Advocacy on Hudson Fisheries

Photo above: The sloop Clearwater sails on the Hudson River. From SoMAS Professors Share Expertise and Advocacy on Hudson Fisheries on Stony Brook Matters, July 18th 2017 Three Stony Brook science professors delivered a powerful message to Capitol Hill at a public...

Tyler Abruzzo (MS, 2015)

In 2015, Tyler Rose Abruzzo became the first student to graduate from the combined BS and MS program at SoMAS, a program designed to allow high achieving undergraduates to use up to 12 credits of course work towards both their undergraduate and graduate degrees. For her Master’s thesis, Tyler studied the temporal and spatial dynamics of the finfish and macro-invertebrate community in the Peconic Bay Estuary under the joint direction of Professors Dr. Robert Cerrato and Dr. Michael Frisk. She was also involved in sampling finfish, macro-invertebrates and sediment in the Great South Bay and Mill Neck Creek. According to Tyler, “My experiences and field work at SoMAS have been not only knowledgeable but fun and unforgettable. My professors and peers have left a lasting impression on me.”

Tyler went directly from graduating at Stony Brook to her new position as a Staff Scientist at H2M Architects & Engineers, where she will be working on delineating wetlands throughout Long Island for construction projects as a consultant. She will also be acquiring environmental permits for clients for proposed construction work, as well as working with Townships for project approval. According to Tyler, “my degree at Stony Brook gave me a broad background in general ecology, therefore I was able to find a company that will help start my career as a biological environmental consultant.”

Her advice to other students is to take advantage of the integrated BS/MS program at SoMAS and to take classes that might be outside your comfort zone to gain knowledge on other subjects. She says “You’ll never know what type of experience/knowledge an employer might be looking for. Therefore, the more knowledge you have about different subjects and the more field techniques you learn will better your chances of landing a job. She describes the experience of the BS and MS program as being ”…a smooth transition from being an undergraduate to a graduate. I knew most of the faculty and their research at SoMAS from my undergraduate classes which made finding an adviser who would support the type of research I wanted to do for my Masters much easier.”

SoMAS alum Christopher Martinez featured in SBU Magazine

Turner Fellowship Leads to Sea Change for West Coast Student BY JOANNE MORICI Christopher Martinez may be a marine biologist from California, but he didn’t grow up near the ocean. Visalia, his hometown, is a small farming city in the San Joaquin Valley. His family of...

Brian Gallagher (BS, 2013)

Throughout my (still ongoing) education and career in aquatic ecology, I have developed a strong interest in how human impacts such as climate change, harvest, and contaminants influence the ecology and evolution of fishes. My four years as a Marine Vertebrate Biology...

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