Researcher Profile

Richard A. Cunjak

Job Title: Meighen-Molson Professor of Atlantic Salmon Research
Employer: University of New Brunswick, Department of Biology, Fredericton, NB
Place of Birth: Welland, Ontario, Canada
Public School attended: St. Mary's School
High School attended: Welland High and Vocational School
Further Education: University of Guelph (B.Sc.), Memorial University of Newfoundland (M.Sc.), University of Waterloo (Ph.D.).
Geographic focus of research: Atlantic Canada, USA, Scotland.

Brief synopsis of current research:
My current research program is focussed on running water environments and the biota living there, with special interest in the ecology and conservation of Atlantic salmon. There are three areas of focus :
1. Winter Biology - involves studies of fish movement and habitat-use, energetic costs of overwintering, and the impact of river ice on egg survival and habitat availability;
2. Anthropogenic impacts - quantification of forestry and agriculture impacts in stream ecosystems (hydrology, sediment loading, nutrient cycling, water temperature); and,
3. Stream ecosystem dynamics - understanding the complexity of energy flow between terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and from primary producers to top predators using stable isotope analysis (C,N,S), and the importance of in-stream stressor events (e.g. floods, ice break-up, high temperature) on stream communities and populations (invertebrates, fish).


Recent Publications:

Johnston, T. A. and R.A. Cunjak. 1999. Dry mass-length relationships for benthic insects: a review with new data from Catamaran Brook, New Brunswick, Canada. Freshw. Biol. 41: 653-674.

Cunjak, R.A. and J. Therrien. 1998. Inter-stage survival of wild juvenile Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L. J. Fish. Manage. Ecol. 5: 209-224.

Cunjak, R.A. T.D. Prowse, and D.L. Parrish. 1998. Atlantic salmon in winter: "the season of parr discontent"? Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 55 (Suppl. 1): 161-180.

Grant, J.W.A., S.O. Steingrimsson, E.R. Keeley, and R.A. Cunjak. 1998. Implications of territory size for the measurement and prediction of salmonid abundance in streams. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 55 (Suppl. 1): 181-190(in press).

Cunjak, R.A. 1996. Winter habitat of selected stream fishes and potential impact from land-use activities. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 53 (Supplement 1): 267-282.

Canada is known as a country of wilderness, but one where natural environments are presently threatened from a variety of stressors. Our rivers were the gateways for the first explorers; our communities still focus on these waterways and where they meet the sea. In eastern Canada, we still have some natural, unregulated rivers where aquatic research can lead the way for demonstrating how to conserve river ecosytems. The reason I study Atlantic salmon is that it is a great indicator of what's right with rivers, and an amazingly complex organism that occupies a variety of habitats. As for my interest in winter biology, what can possibly be more Canadian?