Cooperative Research Units
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Hydroacoustic monitoring of anadromous fishes in the Roanoke River

Transducer and frame used for split-beam echosounder


July 2007 - June 2013


Anadromous fishes spend the majority of their adult lives in the ocean and make yearly migrations (runs) into coastal rivers to spawn. These species are targeted by commercial and recreational fisheries both in the ocean-estuarine environment and during their runs into coastal rivers. Information on abundance of these important species is needed in order to properly regulate harvests and to assess the effectiveness of rebuilding efforts. The primary objective of this study is to estimate the size of spawning runs of American shad, striped bass, and other anadromous species. A related objective is to gain a detailed understanding of migratory behavior in order to design an effective monitoring program and interpret the hydroacoustics data.

Research Products and Activities


  • Waine, M. W. 2010. Assessing spawning runs of anadromous fishes using a Bayesian analysis of split-beam and DIDSON count data. MS thesis, NC State University, Raleigh.Website  | 
  • Hughes, J. B. 2012. Combining count data from split-beam and multiple DIDSON sonar techniques to estimate spawning run abundance of anadromous fishes in the Roanoke River, NC. MS Thesis, NC State University, Raleigh.Download  | Website  | 


  • Waine, M. W., J. E. Hightower, and K. M. Boswell. 2008. Deployment of split-beam and DIDSON systems to estimate abundance of anadromous species in the Roanoke River, NC. DIDSON-Based Fish Assessment Workshop, Alaska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, Anchorage. October 26-28, 2008.
  • Waine, M. W., and J. E. Hightower. 2009. Assessing spawning runs of anadromous fishes using split-beam and multi-beam sonar systems. American Fisheries Society, Nashville, Tennessee, August 30-September 3, 2009.
  • Hughes, J. B., and J. E. Hightower. 2011. Assessing spawning runs of anadromous fishes using a combination of split-beam and DIDSON count data. 141th Annual Meeting, American Fisheries Society, Seattle, WA, September 4-8, 2011.
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Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 240

Phd Students: 143

Post Docs: 52

University Staff: 245

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 702

Scientific Publications: 1948

Presentations: 4251



  • Joseph HightowerPrincipal Investigator
  • Michael WaineStudent
  • Jacob HughesStudent

Funding Agencies

  • North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey