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Welcome to the website for the Shoup Fisheries Management & Fisheries Ecology Lab Group at Oklahoma State University. 


Our lab provides instruction and conducts research in the areas of freshwater fisheries management and fish ecology.  Most of our research centers on reservoir habitats and our funding most often comes from sources supporting the research of sport fish, but we are interested in any topic within freshwater ecology that involves fish, including non-game species or riverine habitats.  We use basic ecological principals to guide research of both basic and applied topics ranging from understanding community-level foodweb dynamics in aquatic systems to improved sampling methods for fisheries management. Meet the people who are part of the Shoup Fisheries Management and Fisheries Ecology lab and learn more about the facilities associated with the lab.




Employment Opportunities

  • Ph.D. Research Assistantship - Gizzard shad sampling in reservoirs with hydroacoustics
    • Salary:  $25,000/yr plus health insurance and full tuition waver.
    • Responsibilities:  The student on this protocol will help develop protocol for sampling gizzard shad with hydroacoustics and trawls in large highland reservoirs. Student will work collaboratively with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and would be free to develop additional project objectives to address larger questions related to forage management or sportfish-prey balance in reservoirs.
    • Qualifications:  B.S. and M.S. degrees in fisheries, biology, zoology or related fields; competitive GPA & GRE scores. Experience with hydroacoustics preferred but not required (student should have strong computer and computational skills). International students must have TOEFL score > 100 and are responsible for getting their own education visa.
    • To Apply to the Position: Send: 1) Cover letter, 2) Curriculum Vitae, 3) all college transcripts, 4) GRE scores (and TOEFL for internationals), 5) a scientific writing sample (e.g., manuscript, thesis, term paper, lab report), and 6) contact information for 3 references to Dr. Dan Shoup (dshoup(at)
    • Closing Date:  Review of applicants is currently ongoing and will continue until filled. We anticipate the student beginning the position in the spring 2021 semester (January 11, 2021)
    • COVID-19 note:  OSU is planning to hold in-person classes this fall. We are fortunate that, with modified procedures for social distancing, we have been able to continue all of our lab's projects. We do not expect COVID-related issues to be a problem on this project.
  • Fisheries Research Technician
    • Salary:  $12/hr, 40hr/wk.
    • Responsibilities:  Serve as technician for field research involving boat and tow-barge electrofishing, gill net sampling, acoustic and radio telemetry, mark-recapture sampling, otolith and spine aging, hydroacoustics and other methods to support studies investigating Striped Bass and Catastomid populations in river and reservoir habitats and hydroacoustic assessment of forage in reservoirs; assist with maintenance of equipment and lab work associated with the projects..
    • Qualifications:  B.S. degree in fisheries, biology, or related field; ability to make multi-day trips to the field (travel expenses and lodging will be covered); valid driver’s license required.
    • To Apply to the Position: Send: 1) Cover letter highlighting relevant experience, 2) Resume or Curriculum Vitae, and 3) college transcripts to douglas.zentner(at) and dshoup(at)
    • Closing Date: Apply by 8/7/2020 for full consideration, but we will consider applications after this date until we find a suitable applicant.


Research Projects

  • Blue Catfish Sampling

    Sampling Bias of Electrofishing for Blue Catfish
    (Funded by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation through Sportfish Restoration Grant F-74-R)

    Project personnel:  Kris Bodine, Dan Shoup


    Bodine, K.A.*, and Shoup, D.E.  2010.  Capture efficiency of blue catfish electrofishing and the effects of temperature, habitat, and reservoir location on electrofishing-derived length structure indices and relative abundance.  North American Journal of Fisheries Management. 30:613-621.

    Bodine, K.A.*, Buckmeier, D.L., Schlechte, J.W., and Shoup, D.E. 2011. Effect of electrofishing sampling design on bias of size-related metrics for blue catfish in Reservoirs. Pages 607-620 in P.H. Michaletz and V.H. Travnichek, editors. Conservation, ecology, and management of catfish: the second international symposium. American Fisheries Society Symposium 77, Bethesda, Maryland.

    Bodine, K.A., Shoup, D.E., Olive, J. Ford, Z.L., Krogman, R., and Stubbs, T.J.  2013.  Catfish sampling techniques: where we are now and where we should go? Fisheries. 38(12):529-546.

    Current sampling methods for blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus are suspected to be strongly size-biased, making it difficult to accurately access population density and size structure.  To understand this potential bias for electrofishing in reservoirs, we conducted seasonal and habitat-specific sampling for 2 years beginning in June 2006.  Kaw, Keystone, and Oologah Reservoirs in Oklahoma were sampled using 15-pps DC electricity at 1000 volts (4 amps).  Temperature, habitat, and reservoir section were analyzed to determine which variables are associated with the highest total catch-per-unit-effort (CPUETotal) and CPUE of preferred length (> 762mm, TL CPUE762) blue catfish, which typically appear underrepresented in electrofishing samples.


    Total CPUE and CPUE762 for blue catfish was significantly (p < 0.05) higher for warmer water temperatures (> 18o C), but variability increased as temperatures exceeded 28o C.  Catch rates were also significantly higher in the upper reservoir section. No difference was detected for microhabitat (channels, points, or flats).  Additionally, we evaluated the actual length-specific bias of electrofishing using a population with a known length-frequency and size distribution.  Approximately 300 blue catfish (approximately 25 fish from each 100-mm length class between 200 and 1000 mm) were collected and transported to a 12-ha impoundment where no blue catfish were previously present.  This ‘artificial population’ was sampled to determine which length classes were more vulnerable to electrofishing.  No difference in catch rate was detected for any length classes (P < 0.05) and mean total catch was less than 10 % of the total population.


    Relative Abundance and Size Structure of Blue Catfish Sampled with Electrofishing and Gill Nets.Project personnel:  Nathan Evans, Dan Shoup, and Kurt Kuklinski


    Evans, N.T., Shoup, D.E., and Kuklinski, K.E.  2011.  Comparison of Electrofishing and Experimental Gill Nets for Sampling Size Structure and Relative Abundance of Blue Catfish in Reservoirs.  In P. Michaletz and V. Travnichek, editors. Catfish 2010: Conservation, ecology, and management of catfish. American Fisheries Society Symposium, Bethesda, Maryland. in press.


    Despite increasing popularity of blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus with anglers, effective management of blue catfish has been limited due to hindered by limited information on appropriate sampling methods. We compared the efficiency and precision of low-frequency pulsed-DC electrofishing and experimental gill nets for use in estimating relative population abundance and size structure in 12 reservoirs. Electrofishing yielded greater catch rates and lower mean RSE than gill nets. Similarly, the number of samples necessary to achieve a RSE = 0.25 was lower with electrofishing in most reservoirs.


    Gill net CPUE and electrofishing CPUE were strongly correlated (P < 0.01), and length-frequency distributions were also similar between gear types in many reservoirs examined. Where they differed, there was no consistent pattern, suggesting differences were due to low precision (caused by low numbers of fish captured) rather than gear bias. Our analysis indicated that both low-frequency pulsed-DC electrofishing and gill netting effectively measured relative abundance of blue catfish. In most cases, electrofishing was more efficient at estimating CPUE and size structure (requiring fewer samples to achieve comparable precision); thus we recommend using this gear when estimating these parameters for reservoir blue catfish populations.

  • Catch-and-Release Mortality of Blue Catfish Captured by Jug Fishing

    To prevent overharvest by anglers, bag limits and/or length regulation are often enforced on sport fisheries.  Resent research by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) determined that blue catfish Icalurus furcatus grow slowly and many fish are likely to be harvested before they can grow to trophy size.  Therefore, to improve the abundance of large blue catfish in Oklahoma, the ODWC is changing bag limits for this species to restrict the harvest of these rare large fish.  However, in order for bag limits to be effective, fish that are caught and released by anglers must have reasonably high survival.


    While delayed hooking mortality has been well studied in some species such as largemouth bass, little is known about the delayed mortality of blue catfish.  This is of particular concern because one of the most common angling methods for this species is jug fishing, a method that allows fish to be hooked for up to 24 hours before being released.  Research on delayed mortality in other species suggests this added stress could lead to reduced survival of released blue catfish.


    Blue Catfish (N = 559) were caught from three Oklahoma reservoirs with either 5/0 circle hooks or J-hooks fished for 24-h sets. One experimental fish (captured via jugline) and one control fish (captured via low-frequency electrofishing) were then placed in field enclosures (N = 25) and monitored for mortality after 72 h. Mean mortality was low at 8.50% (range, 0.00–37.50%; SE, 1.81%). Mortality decreased significantly with decreasing water temperatures (P > 0.01; odds ratio 1.1).Mortality was highest (mean = 25.31%) at water temperatures > 20◦C and decreased to 3.89% in water temperatures < 20◦C. We observed 0% mortality in water temperatures < 14◦C. Hook type did not significantly affect mortality, nor did the depth in the water column where the fish was hooked. For every 100-mm increase in total length, fish were six times less likely to die (odds ratio 0.17). Mean mortality for preferred-size fish was low at 2.50%, and no moralities were observed for memorable or trophy-size fish. These results suggest that length regulations limiting the harvest of preferred-size or larger fish should be effective as a large proportion of released fish should survive to further contribute to the fishery.

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