NC Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Our Misson

The Cooperative Research Units Program was established to facilitate cooperation among the U.S. Department of the Interior, universities, state fish and wildlife agencies, and private organizations, by conducting programs of research and education related to fish and wildlife resource management. Accordingly, the North Carolina Coop Unit is jointly sponsored by the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, NC State University, and the Wildlife Management Institute.

The purpose of the North Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit is:

  • to address the research and technical needs of the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, North Carolina State University and other appropriate state, federal and private agencies;
  • to contribute to the quality education of advanced and graduate fisheries and wildlife students at NC State University;
  • and to disseminate the results of research conducted by Unit staff, students, and cooperators.

Unit staff vigorously pursue projects that have scientific merit, and those that provide valuable information for natural resources management. Unit personnel coordinate activities of the Unit and whenever possible collaborate with Cooperators in jointly conducting research and educating graduate students.

The North Carolina Unit focuses on the identification, assessment, interpretation, and alleviation of the effects of current or potential environmental changes or perturbations on fish and wildlife resources. Through a combination of basic and applied research, the Unit pursues innovative solutions to natural resource issues questions. Although some work may be species oriented, community and ecosystem studies are stressed. This requires a team approach to hypothesis testing research, involving Unit and University personnel as investigators. 

Educational goals are achieved by Unit staff teaching graduate level courses, chairing graduate committees, delivering guest lectures and seminars, and sponsoring and participating in short courses and workshops for Cooperators when appropriate.



Nathan Hostetter Assistant Leader, Wildlife

Jaime A. Collazo Assistant Leader, Wildlife

Ruby Valeton Business Services Coordinator


The first Cooperative Research Unit was established at Iowa State University in 1932, based largely on the efforts of conservationist and political cartoonist Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling. Since that time, and with the authorization of the Cooperative Units Act by Congress in 1960, most states have Units established at their land grant universities. The North Carolina Cooperative Fishery Research Unit was established in 1962, and it was expanded to a combined Fish and Wildlife Unit in 1988. Administration of Cooperative Research Units was under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service until 1993, when the National Biological Service was formed. The Cooperative Research Unit program is located within the U.S. Geological Survey, where each unit is a partnership among the U.S. Geological Survey, a State natural resource agency, a host university, and the Wildlife Management Institute.


Research projects undertaken by the NC Unit are field-oriented and conducted by graduate students in cooperation with Unit, other University, and agency biologists.

Example Research Topics:

  • Anadromous fish population dynamics and habitat relations
  • Nesting success, survival, and production of migratory birds
  • New technologies for quantifying fish and wildlife populations and trends
  • Evaluation of habitat and ecological restoration
  • Application of ecological principles to the conservation of endangered species and their habitats
  • Relationships among animals, habitat suitability, and land use
  • Effects of introduced species on native communities
  • Tropical ecology and endangered species conservation and recovery
  • Population estimation and modeling, quantitative ecology, and statistical inference of field studies