Rick Cunjak

Professor, Biology, Ecosystems Mgt and Wildlife Ecology


Forestry and Environmental Management

Bailey Hall 107B


1 506 452 6204

Academic interests

  • Natural stressors
  • Ecosystems
  • Fish habitat (predominantly Atlantic salmon)

Brief biography

Dr. Richard Cunjak is a full professor at the University of New Brunswick where he holds a joint appointment in the Department of Biology and the Faculty of Forestry & Environmental Management (FOREM). He was a Tier I Canada Research Chair in River Ecosystem Science for 14 years (2000-2014). Between 2000 and 2004, he was the founding director of the Canadian Rivers Institute (CRI), and continues to play a leading role in the CRI.

Rick has more than 35 years experience working on the behavioural ecology of riverine fishes. To date, he has published over 140 scientific papers, reports and book chapters in three languages. He is the founder and Director of the Stable Isotopes in Nature Laboratory (SINLAB) and has received over $6,000,000 in research funding from various sources including three Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) grants. Since coming to UNB in 1997, he has (co) supervised 28 graduate students and seven postdoctoral fellows.

His field-based research program is focused on natural stressors (winter, ice, floods, high temperature), anthropogenic impacts (hydroelectric operations, forestry, agriculture) and the population dynamics of riverine fishes, particularly Atlantic salmon. He has successfully used technological tools such as passive integrated transponders, radio telemetry, and stable isotope analysis to study fishes in the wild. His lab currently consists of graduate students, post-docs, and full-time staff working on various projects including marine derived nutrients in riverine food webs, winter flow regulation impacts on egg survival and growth, how climate warming is affecting the salmonid movement behaviour and the use of thermal refugia in large rivers, and the stock-recruitment dynamics of Atlantic salmon populations in New Brunswick rivers.

Courses taught

  • Biophysical Foundations of Ecosystem Management
  • Forest Wildlife Ecology

Selected research

  • Cunjak, RA, T. Linnansaari, and D. Caissie. 2013. The complex interaction of ecology and hydrology in a small catchment: a salmon’s perspective. Hydrol. Processes 27: 741-749.
  • Kurylyk, BL, KTB MacQuarrie, T Linnansaari, RA Cunjak and RA Curry. 2014. Preserving, augmenting and creating cold-water thermal refugia in rivers: Concepts derived from the Miramichi River,New Brunswick (Canada). Ecohydrology 8: 1095-1108.
  • Samways, KM and RA Cunjak. 2015. Increases in benthic community production and metabolism in response to marine-derived nutrients from spawning Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Freshw. Biol. 60(8): 1647-1658.
  • Dugdale, SJ, Franssen, J, Corey, E, Bergeron, NE, Lapointe, M, Cunjak, RA. 2015. Main stem movement of Atlantic salmon parr in response to high river temperature Ecol. Freshw. Fish 25(3) 429-445.