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Dr. Joseph Hightower

Photo while visiting the Anchorage area for the 2005 American Fisheries Society meeting


  • Ph D University of Georgia 1984
  • MS University of Georgia 1981
  • BS NC State University 1978


1985-1991 position as research fishery biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service; 1991-present position as Assistant Unit Leader (Fisheries), NC Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at NC State University.

Research Interests

Anadromous fish ecology, hydroacoustics, population dynamics

Teaching Interests

Population dynamics, stock assessment, fishery management

Professional Society Service

  • American Fisheries Society - Co-Chair, Education and Outreach Committee, NC Chapter, American Fisheries Society (December 2009 - February 2012)
  • American Fisheries Society - Skinner Memorial Award Committee, member 2006-8, chair 2009-2010 (January 2006 - December 2010)
  • American Fisheries Society - President, North Carolina Chapter (January 1996 - January 1997)
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Research Publications

  • Raabe, J. K., and J. E. Hightower. 2014. American shad migratory behavior, weight loss, survival, and abundance in a North Carolina river following dam removals. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 143:673-688. Abstract |  Download  | 
  • Rudershausen, P. J., J. A. Buckel, and J. E. Hightower. 2014. Discard mortality of a U.S. South Atlantic reef fish estimated from surface and bottom tagging. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 71:514-520. Abstract |  Download  | 
  • Grote, A., Bailey, M., Zydlewski, J., Hightower, J. 2014 Multibeam sonar (DIDSON) assessment of American shad (Alosa sapidissima) approaching a hydroelectric dam. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 71:545-558. Download  | 
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Completed Projects


  • Quantitative Fisheries Management (2012)
  • Scientific Communication in a Digital World (2011)
  • Quantitative Fisheries Management (2010)
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North Carolina Other Professional Positions and Memberships

  • Joseph HightowerMember, Atlantic Sturgeon Status Review Team, National Marine Fisheries Service. (January 2006 - December 2007)
  • Joseph HightowerMember, Blue Crab Scientific Advisory Panel, NC Marine Fisheries Commission (March 2002 - March 2004)
  • Joseph HightowerMember, Scientific and Statistical Committee, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (May 2001 - May 2003)
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Technical Publications

  • Harris, J. E., and J. E. Hightower. 2010. Movement and spawning of American shad transported above dams on the Roanoke River. Report Number NCCFWRU 2010-001. Report to North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. NC Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, NC State University, Raleigh, NC.
  • Atlantic Sturgeon Status Review Team. 2007. Status Review of Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus). Report to National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Regional Office. February 23, 2007. 174 pp
  • Burdick, S. M., J. E. Hightower, J. A. Buckel, L. M. Paramore, and K. H. Pollock. 2007. Movement and Selectivity of Red Drum and Survival of Adult Red Drum: An Analysis of 20 Years of Tagging Data. Completion report, North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, Morehead City, NC.
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Current Staff

Federal Staff: 4

Masters Students: 3

Phd Students: 4

Post Docs: 3

University Staff: 25

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 21

Scientific Publications: 92

Presentations: 157


Contact Information

Tel: (919) 515 - 8836 Personal Web Site:

Current Students

North Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. North Carolina State University
  2. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
  3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. U.S. Geological Survey
  5. Wildlife Management Institute