Graduate Student Opportunity – Cunjak lab
Canadian Rivers Institute, UNB, Fredericton
Project #1, PhD student
To answer the question "Is egg survival of Atlantic salmon a function of hyporheic
water quality and/or flow regulation"?
In natural systems, bedload movement, sedimentation, ice scour, probability of
de-watering and exposure to freezing can impose significant perturbations on
fishes and incubating eggs and alevins, and there is some evidence that hypoxic
groundwater may impact incubating salmon eggs during low discharge periods in
winter. Winter severity is hypothesized to be greatest in the large rivers
compared with small-order streams where substrate heterogeneity, a relatively
high contribution of groundwater discharge, higher slopes and narrow channels
tend to create complex, relatively stable winter habitats with shore fast ice and
abundant instream cover. In regulated systems, such stressors can be
exacerbated or dampened depending on their timing and frequency, and the
inherent conditions characteristic of the river (sub) basin. For example, changes
in the normal winter hydrologic (and thermal) regime may influence surface
water-hyporheic water dynamics that can affect survival or development of
incubating eggs and alevins. Relatively little is known about the exact
mechanism(s) driving winter survival of riverine fishes in regulated systems,
particularly in the hyporheic habitats where eggs incubate. Such studies of the
early stages of fish production are fundamental to quantifying juvenile recruitment
and the potential impacts of anthropogenic activities on fish population dynamics.
Objectives and Hypotheses: This research is aimed at quantifying the
relationship between egg survival of autumn spawning fishes and the
environmental attributes associated with flow regulation from hydroelectric
activities in rivers. Specifically, it is hypothesized that egg survival will decrease
in response to altered winter and spring flows as a result of hyporheic anoxic
water delivery within the substrate (redd). Secondarily, it is hypothesized that
winter flow regulation will lead to compromised physiological development in
alevins that will result in impaired growth and reduced recruitment.
- ideally, would commence June 2011
Applicants should have a strong academic record and significant field experience
working with stream fishes, preferably in the area of ecology and/or physiology.
Graduate students will be located at the Canadian Rivers Institute at the University
of New Brunswick in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Full funding for salary and
research is available for 4-yr terms (PhD).
Note that international students in doctoral programs will have the costs for
international tuition fees waived by UNB.
If interested, please apply, by email, to Dr. Rick Cunjak ([email protected]). Include a
recent CV, statement of research interests, names of three references, and an
academic transcript.
Richard A. Cunjak, Ph.D.
Professor, and Canada Research Chair in River Ecosystem Science
Fellow, Canadian Rivers Institute (
Department of Biology, and the Faculty of Forestry & Environmental Management
P.O. Box 4400, 10 Bailey Avenue
University of New Brunswick
Fredericton, New Brunswick, CANADA. E3B 5A3.
ph - 506-452-6204 ; fax - 506-453-3583
email - [email protected]

Graduate Student Opportunity – Cunjak lab Canadian Rivers