Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Ecology and status of Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon in North and South Carolina

Deployment of side-scan sonar in Pee Dee basin


September 2008 - August 2013


The purpose of this project is to develop and test a multistage survey protocol for estimating presence or population density of sturgeon species in southeastern rivers. The initial phase will be done using a combination of side-scan sonar and DIDSON multibeam sonar.

Research Products and Activities

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Flowers, H. J., and J. E. Hightower. 2013. A Novel Approach to Surveying Sturgeon Using Side-scan Sonar and Occupancy Modeling. Coastal and Marine Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science 5:211-223. Abstract |  Download  |  Publisher Website | 


  • H. J. Flowers, and J. E. Hightower. 2009. Potential for the Use of Hydroacoustic Technologies in the Study of Sturgeons. 11th Annual Workshop on Gulf Sturgeon, Cedar Key, Florida
  • Flowers, H. J., and J. E. Hightower. 2011. Developing hydroacoustic methods for the study of sturgeons and other large-bodied fishes. 141th Annual Meeting, American Fisheries Society, Seattle, WA, September 4-8, 2011.
  • Flowers, H. J., and J. E. Hightower. 2012. A novel approach to surveying sturgeon using side-scan sonar and occupancy modeling. 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society, St. Paul, Minnesota, August 19-23, 2012.

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: 95

Presentations: 154



Funding Agencies

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • South Carolina Dept of Natural Resources


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