Rick Cunjak

Science Director, CRI

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 holds a Tier I Canada Research Chair (CRC) in River Ecosystem Science. 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. Dr. Cunjak has more than 30 years experience working on the behavioural ecology of riverine fishes. To date, he has published >120 scientific papers including 90 peer-reviewed articles and 9 book chapters. He is the founder and Director of the Stable Isotopes in Nature Laboratory (SINLAB) and was the principal investigator of three successful 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. Dr. Cunjak 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 Atlantic salmon eggs and parr, the use of thermal refugia in large rivers, and the identification of marine migratory patterns of adult salmon based on oxygen stable isotopes.

While at UNB, he has received >$3,000,000 in research funding from various sources including Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Canada Research Chairs program, Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Norwegian Research Council, Canadian International Development Association (CIDA), Meighen-Molson Foundations, Parks Canada, Toxic Substances Research Initiative (TSRI) and the Department of Fisheries & Oceans.


  • 1977       University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario  - BSc (Honours), Marine Biology
  • 1982        Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NF - MSc Biology
  • 1986        University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario - PhD Biology

PUBLICATIONS : lifetime >120 scientific papers, reports  and book chapters in 3 languages.

  • Professor, and Canada Research Chair in River Ecosystem Science
  • Fellow, Canadian Rivers Institute
  • Director, Stable Isotopes in Nature Laboratory (SINLAB)