AMES, Iowa--Allen Pattillo joined Iowa State University staff April 1 as an aquaculture and fisheries extension specialist and a North Central Regional Aquaculture Center (NCRAC) program specialist. Pattillo earned a Bachelor of Science in fisheries and aquaculture from University of Georgia and master’s in aquaculture from Auburn University before coming to Iowa.
At Iowa State, he will assume research responsibilities on several projects, work with the NCRAC program and provide outreach to Iowans wanting to better understand waterways, fish, aquatic invertebrates and aquaculture. During his first weeks in Iowa he has begun familiarizing himself with Iowa’s diverse fishing waters and nearly 130 fish species within the state.
“After a weekend of catching fish below the damn at Lake Red Rock, that quickly became my favorite Iowa fishing spot,” said Pattillo. “But I have plans to spend a weekend at Brushy Creek and haven’t been to the Iowa Great Lakes yet, so my favorite spot may change a few times as I visit more Iowa waterways.”
Pattillo grew up in Dawsonville, Ga., fishing the mountain lakes and streams in that region. His first memorable catch, at age five, was a seven and a half pound catfish that nearly pulled him and his sister into the water. He also tells of his grandfather using corn as trout bait. Listening to him talk of his family adventures, it hardly seems any wonder that he is now involved with aquatic animal studies and draws on his education and life experiences to answer questions for Iowans.
His research projects at Iowa State include a USDA funded bluegill feeding study in collaboration with Lincoln University, Mo., and Purdue University, and an Iowa DNR aquaculture study involving hybrid striped bass. Working with Joe Morris, Iowa State professor and NCRAC associate director, Pattillo hopes to get his feet on the ground with these established projects. “Allen’s aquaculture degree from Auburn University will be crucial to his role here at Iowa State,” said Morris. “His experiences as a fisheries technician will be useful as he addresses questions from Iowa clients on a wide variety of fisheries and pond issues.”
Iowans with questions can reach Pattillo at email@example.com or by calling 515-294-8616. In his first month, Pattillo said he has gotten a feel for the type of questions that Iowans have. “I’ve received questions about ponds – weeds in ponds and how to get rid of them, muddy water and other erosion issues, and from people wondering where their fish have gone,” he said. “People considering whether or not to get into the aquaculture business have contacted me and I’m excited to have the opportunity to expand aquaculture in the state.”
Pattillo is very interested in hearing from Iowans, getting to know what issues they are facing and connecting them with university resources and agency personnel. “I learn a bit more about Iowa with every question I get,” he said.
As a member of the Extension Natural Resource Ecology and Management (NREM) team, Pattillo joins Jesse Randall, extension forester, and Rebecca Christoffel, extension wildlife specialist, to provide education on topics that are of increasing interest to Iowans. “The Extension programs in Natural Resource Ecology Management are important in the protection and enhancement of Iowa’s natural resources for recreational and commercial purposes,” said John Lawrence, ISU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources director. “In addition to the enjoyment and ecosystem services these lands provide, there is also a significant economic benefit from hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor activities.”
The Extension NREM team provides education to Iowans interested in the various facets of the state’s natural resources.