Curry Cunningham

Curry Cunningham

Associate Professor

Commercial Fisheries
Fisheries Ecology
Fisheries Management
Fisheries Population and Biometry

College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
17101 Point Lena Loop Road
Juneau, AK 99801


University of Washington
Ph.D. Fisheries and Aquatic Science

University of British Columbia
B.Sc. Animal Biology



Selected Publications

Langan, J.A., C.J. Cunningham, J.T. Watson, and S. McKinnell. 2024. Opening the black box: New insights into the role of temperature in the marine distributions of Pacific salmon. Fish and Fisheries.

Cheng, M.L.H., D.R. Goethel, and C.J. Cunningham. 2024. Addressing complex fleet structure in fishery stock assessment models: Accounting for a rapidly developing pot fishery for Alaska sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria). Fisheries Research 271.

Ovando, D., C.J. Cunningham, P. Kuriyama, C. Boatright, and R. Hilborn. 2022. Improving forecasts of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) with parametric and nonparametric models. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 79(8):1198–1210.

Thorson, J.T., C.J. Cunningham, E. Jorgensen, A. Havron, P.-J.F. Hulson, C.C. Monnahan, and P. von Szalay. 2021. The surprising sensitivity of index scale to delta-model assumptions: Recommendations for model-based index standardization. Fisheries Research 233.

Oke, K.B., C.J. Cunningham, P.A.H. Westley, M.L. Baskett, S.M. Carlson, J. Clark, A.P. Hendry, V.A. Karatayev, N.W. Kendall, J. Kibele, H.K. Kindsvater, K.M. Kobayashi, B. Lewis, S. Munch, J.D. Reynolds, G.K. Vick, and E.P. Palkovacs. 2020. Recent declines in salmon body size impact ecosystems and fisheries. Nature Communications.

Cunningham, C.J., C.M. Anderson, J.Y. Wang, M. Link, and R. Hilborn. (2019). A management strategy evaluation of the commercial sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 76(9):1669–1683.

Cunningham, C.J., P.A.H. Westley, and M.D. Adkison. 2018. Signals of large scale climate drivers, hatchery enhancement, and marine factors in Yukon River Chinook salmon survival revealed with a Bayesian life history model. Global Change Biology. 24(9):4399–4416.


  • Population dynamics
  • Bayesian methods in ecology and fisheries management
  • Stock assessment
  • Management Strategy Evaluation
  • Ecological and fisheries forecasting



My interest in fisheries management began at age 13 during my first season commercial salmon fishing in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Throughout subsequent seasons as a set and driftnet fisherman my curiosity about the complexities of the salmon management process was ignited. Later my passion for quantitative ecology was sparked by an undergraduate course taught by Dr. Carl Walters (University of British Columbia), during which I became enamored by the idea that one could attempt to explain the chaotic dynamics of natural systems mathematically by confronting models with data. This excitement has guided my subsequent career and research in population dynamics and fisheries management.


Research Overview

I am a quantitative ecologist with a propensity for fisheries problems. I utilize applied statistics and simulation modeling to address interesting questions about fisheries management, evolution, predator-prey interactions, and the population dynamics of aquatic species. My research generally falls in two categories: (1) applied research to enhance sustainable management of commercially harvested species, including methods for improving stock assessment and survey design through Management Strategy Evaluation, and developing statistical tools for forecasting salmon abundance, and (2) basic research to improve understanding of the ecological and evolutionary processes that shape the natural world, with projects focusing on bear and salmon predator-prey dynamics and the evolutionary implications of natural and anthropogenic selection on fish and wildlife.