Joey Ballenger

Manager of the Inshore Fisheries Research Section, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Address: Marine Resources Research Institute, 217 Fort Johnson Road, Charleston, SC 29412
Phone: 843.953.9046


Ph.D., 2011, Oceanography, Old Dominion University, Department of Ocean, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences

M.S., 2007, Fisheries, Auburn University, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences

B.S., 2004, Biology, Winthrop University

Research Interests

  • fish life history and population dynamics
  • fish biology/ecology
  • fisheries science/management
  • Integrated stock assessments
  • Climatological effects on fish populations

Current research projects

  • Life history, population dynamics, and abundance trends of estuarine finfish (e.g., red drum, spotted seatrout, American eel, Southern Flounder, Sheepshead) and coastal shark species (e.g., Bonnethead, Scalloped/Carolina Hammerhead, Atlantic Sharpnose, Blacktip Sharks, etc.) of South Carolina
  • Anthropogenic and climatological drivers of fish populations
  • Advancements of integrated stock assessments and the development of relative abundance indices
  • Use of novel techniques for the determination of fish age, including the use of near infrared spectroscopy

Past research projects

  • Life history and population dynamicsof reef fish species (e.g. black sea bass, scamp, red snapper, etc.) of the South Atlantic coast of the U.S.
  • Accross population analysis of the population dynamics of Sheepshead
  • Development of novel techniques for the development of species distribution models and relative abundace indices
  • Use of molecular techniques to assess future reproductive potential of reef fish species
  • Climatological effects on fish populations   


  • Adams, G.D., R.T. Leaf, J.C. Ballenger, S.A. Arnott, & C. J McDonough. Accepted.  Spatial variability in the individual growth of Sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus) in the Southeast US: Implications for assessment and management. Fisheries Research 206: 35-43.
  • Bacheler, N & J.C. Ballenger. 2018. Decadal-scale decline of Scamp (Mycteroperca phenax) abundance along the southeast United States coast. Fisheries Research 204: 74-87.
  • Sinkus W., V. Shervette, J. Ballenger, L.A. Reed, C. Plante, & B. White. 2017. Mercury bioaccumulation in offshore reef fishes from waters of the Southeastern USA. Environmental Pollution 228: 222-233.
  • Farmer, N.A., W.D. Heyman, M. Karnauskas, S. Kobara, T.I. Smart, J.C. Ballenger, M.J.M. Reichert, D.M. Wyanski, M.S. Tishler, K.C. Lindeman, S.K. Lowerre-Barbieri, T.S. Switzer, J.J. Solomon, K. McCain, M. Marhefka, G.R. Sedberry. 2017. Timing and locations of reef fish spawning off the southeastern United States. PloS One 12(3): e0172968.
  • Lytton, A.R., J.C. Ballenger, M.J.M. Reichert, & T.I. Smart. 2016. Age validation of the North Atlantic stock of wreckfish (Polyprion americanus), based on bomb radiocarbon (14C), and new estimates of life history parameters. Fishery Bulletin 114(1):77-89.
  • Bacheler, N. M. & J.C. Ballenger.  2015.  Spatial and temporal patterns of Black Sea Bass sizes and catches in the southeastern United States inferred from spatially explicit nonlinear models.  Marine & Coastal Fisheries 7: 523-536.
  • Bacheler, N.M., D.J. Berrane, W.A. Mitchell, C.M. Schobernd, Z.H. Schobernd, B.Z. Teer, & J.C. Ballenger. 2014. Environmental conditions and habitat characteristics influence trap and video detection probabilities for reef fish species. Marine Ecology Progress Series 517: 1-14.
  • Su B., D.A. Perera, Y. Zohar, E. Abraham, J. Stubblefield, M. Fobes, R. Beam, B. Argue, C. Ligeon, J. Padi, P. Waters, G. Umali-Maceina, N. Chatakondi, A. Kristanto, A. Hutson, C. Templeton, J. Ballenger, A. Chaimongkol, A. Gima, M. Gima, A. Zuberi, D.M. Lambert, S. Kim, M. Mandour, & R.A. Dunham. 2013. Relative effectiveness of carp pituitary extract, luteininzing hormone releasing hormone analog (LHRHa) injections and LHRHa implants for producing hybrid catfish fry. Aquaculture 372: 133-136.
  • T. Lamkom, H. Kucuktas, Z.J. Liu, P. Li, U. Na-Nakorn, S. Klinbunga, A. Hutson, A. Chaimongkol, J. Ballenger, G. Umali, & R.A. Dunham. 2008. Microsatellite variation among domesticated populations of channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) and blue catfish (I. furcatus). Kasetsart University Fisheries Research Bulletin 32(2): 37-47.