Contact Information

Office Address
Applied Ecology
226B David Clark Labs
NC State University
Raleigh, NC 27695

Phone Number

Fax Number


Academic Website

Thomas J. Kwak

Unit Leader, North Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Professor, Applied Ecology and Forestry & Environmental Resources (FER)


1993 – Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Research Interests

Fish and Mussel Ecology and Management, Conservation Ecology, Production Biology

Sicklefin_Redhorse_kwakMy research and that of my students centers around fish and mussel ecology, biotic interactions, and impacts of habitat and environmental alterations — especially in the stream environment. The main emphasis of this work has been in identifying physical and biotic influences on the ecological success of aquatic fauna at different spatial, temporal, and organizational scales and quantifying such relationships. This includes studies of population and production dynamics, community interactions, habitat assessment and manipulation, ecotoxicology, food-web functions, density-dependent effects, and empirical and simulation modeling. The ultimate goal of this effort is to incorporate our science into sound ecosystem and fisheries conservation and management.

Web Resources

NC Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Graduate Students

Bobby Cope, M.S., Ecology and status of the Carolina Madtom

Gus Engman, Ph.D., Ecology of Caribbean amphidromous riverine fishes

Casey Grieshaber, M.S., Impacts of traditional and emerging contaminants in river ecosystems

Tomas Ivasauskas, Ph.D., Sicklefin redhorse ontogeny, recruitment, and priority habitat

Tiffany Penland, M.S., Contaminant pathways in riverine food webs

Research Scholars

Jennifer Archambault, M.S., North Carolina State University, Water quality influences on aquatic organisms and communities

Selected Publications

Kwak, T.J., A.C. Engman, J.R. Fischer, and C.G. Lilyestrom. 2016. Drivers of Caribbean freshwater ecosystems and fisheries. Pages 219-232 in W.W. Taylor, D.M. Bartley, C.I. Goddard, N.J. Leonard, and R. Welcomme, editors. Freshwater, fish and the future: proceedings of the global cross-sectoral conference. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome; Michigan State University, East Lansing; and American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland.

Favrot, S.D. and T.J. Kwak. 2016. Efficiency of two-way weirs and prepositioned electrofishing for sampling potamodromous fish migrations. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 36: 167-182.

Smith, W.E. and T.J. Kwak. 2014. Otolith microchemistry of tropical diadromous fishes: spatial and migratory dynamics. Journal of Fish Biology 84: 913-928.

Fisk, J.M. II, T.J. Kwak, and R.J. Heise. 2014. Modelling riverine habitat for robust redhorse: assessment for reintroduction of an imperilled species. Fisheries Management and Ecology 21: 57-67.

Weaver, D.M. and T.J. Kwak. 2013. Assessing effects of stocked trout on nongame fish assemblages in southern Appalachian Mountain streams. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 142: 1495-1507.

Cooney, P.B. and T.J. Kwak. 2013. Spatial extent and dynamics of dam impacts on tropical island freshwater fish assemblages. BioScience 63: 176-190.

Pandolfo, T.J., T.J. Kwak, and W.G. Cope. 2012. Thermal tolerances of freshwater mussels and their host fishes: species interactions in a changing climate. Walkerana: Journal of the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society 15: 69-82.

Kwak, T.J., M.T. Porath, P.H. Michaletz, and V.H. Travnichek. 2011. Catfish science: status and trends in the 21st century. Pages 755-780 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.

Baumann, J.R. and T.J. Kwak. 2011. Trophic relations of introduced flathead catfish in an Atlantic river. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 140: 1120-1134.

Kwak, T.J. and M.C. Freeman. 2010. Assessment and management of ecological integrity. Pages 353-394 in W.A. Hubert and M.C. Quist, editors. Inland fisheries management in North America, third edition. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland.

Hewitt, A.H., T.J. Kwak, W.G. Cope, and K.H. Pollock. 2009. Population density and instream habitat suitability of the endangered Cape Fear shiner. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 138: 1439-1457.

Full publication list and downloads available