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Fred L. Cunningham, DVM

Fred L. Cunningham, DVM, is a Supervisory Wildlife Research Biologist and Project Leader at the National Wildlife Research Center Starkville, Mississippi Field Station. 

NWRC Research Project: Defining Economic Impacts and Developing Strategies for Reducing Avian Predation in Aquaculture Systems

Current Research                      

Can fish eating birds transfer Virulent Aeromonas hydrophila between catfish pond

Antibody production and genetic drift of H3N2 Influenza A virus in feral swine                                          


  • Certificate, Executive Veterinary Program in Swine Health and Management, University of Illinois,
  • D.V.M., Doctor of Veterinary Medicine – Mississippi State University-College of Veterinary Medicine
  • M.S., Animal Science, 1981, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
  • B.S., Animal Science, 1979, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana              

Contact information

  • Address: USDA/APHIS/WS/NWRC Mississippi Field Station PO Box 6099, Mississippi State, MS 39762
  • Telephone: 662-325-8612
  • Fax: 662-325-8704
  • Email:


Cunningham, F.L., M.M. Jubirt, K.C. Hanson-Dorr, L. Ford, P. Fioranelli, and L.A. Hanson. 2018. Potential of double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus), American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), and wood storks (Mycteria americana) to transmit a hypervirulent strain of Aeromonas hydrophila between channel catfish culture ponds. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 54(3):548-552. doi: 10.7589/2017-06-128

Ferguson, L., K. Luo, A.K. Olivier, F.L. Cunningham, S. Blackmon, K. Hanson-Dorr, H. Sun, J. Baroch, M.W. Lutman, B. Quade, W. Epperson, R. Webby, T.J. DeLiberto, and X-F. Wan. 2018. Influenza D Virus infection in feral swine populations, United States. Emerging Infectious Diseases 24(6): 1019-1027. doi: 10.3201/eid2406.172102

Alexander, C.R., M.J. Hooper, D. Cacela, K.D. Smelker, C.S. Calvin, K.M. Dean, S.J. Bursian, F.L. Cunningham, K.C. Hanson-Dorr, K.E. Horak, J.P. Isanhart, J. Link, S.A. Shriner, and C.A.J. Godard-Codding. 2017. Reprint of: CYP1A protein expression and catalytic activity in double-crested cormorants experimentally exposed to Deepwater Horizon Mississippi Canyon 252 oil. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 146:68-75. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2017.02.049

Bursian, S.J., C.R. Alexander, D. Cacela, F.L. Cunningham, K.M. Dean, B.S. Dorr, C.K. Ellis, C.A. Godard-Codding, C.G. Guglielmo, K.C. Hanson-Dorr, K.E. Harr, K.A. Healy, M.J. Hooper, K.E. Horak, J.P. Isanhart, L.V. Kennedy, J.E. Link, I. Maggini, J.K. Moye, C.R. Perez, C.A. Pritsos, S.A. Shriner, K.A. Trust, and P.L. Tuttle. 2017. Reprint of: Overview of avian toxicity studies for the Deepwater Horizon natural resource damage assessment. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 146:4-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2017.05.014

Cunningham, F., K. Dean, K. Hanson-Dorr, K. Harr, K. Healy, K. Horak, J. Link, S. Shriner, S. Bursian, and B. Dorr. 2017. Reprint of: Development of methods for avian oil toxicity studies using the double crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus). Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 146:19-28. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2017.03.025

Dean, K.M., D. Cacela, M.W. Carney, F.L. Cunningham, C. Ellis, A.R. Gerson, C.G. Guglielmo, K.C. Hanson-Dorr, K.E. Harr, K.A. Healy, K.E. Horak. J.P. Isanhart, L.V. Kennedy, J.E. Link. I. Lipton, A.K. McFadden, J.K. Moye, C.R. Perez, C.A. Pritsos, K.L. Pritsos, T. Muthumalage, S.A. Shriner, and S.J. Bursian. 2017. Testing of an oral dosing technique for double-crested cormorants, Phalacocorax auritus, laughing gulls, Leucophaeus atricilla, homing pigeons, Columba livia, and western sandpipers, Calidris mauri, with artificially weather MC252 oil. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 146:11-18. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2017.07.003

Dean, K.M., S.J. Bursian, D. Cacela, M.W. Carney, F.L. Cunningham, B. Dorr, K.C. Hanson-Dorr, K.A. Healy, K.E. Horak, J.E. Link, I. Lipton, A.K. McFadden, M.A. McKernan, and K.E. Harr. 2017. Changes in white cell estimates and plasma chemistry measurements following oral or external dosing of double-crested cormorants, Phalacrocorax auritus, with artificially weathered MC252 oil. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 146:40-51. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2017.08.007

Guitierrez Illan, J., G. Wang, F.L. Cunningham, and D.T. King. 2017. Seasonal effects of wind conditions on migration patterns of soaring American white pelican. PLoS One 12(10):e0186948. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0186948

Harr, K.E., D.R. Reavill, S.J. Bursian, D. Cacela, F.L. Cunningham, K.M. Dean, B.S. Dorr, K.C. Hanson-Dorr, K. Healy, K. Horak, J.E. Link, S. Shriner, and R.E. Schmidt. 2017. Organ weights and histopathology of double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) dosed orally or dermally with artificially weathered Mississippi Canyon 252 crude oil. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 146:52-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv. 2017.07.011

Harr, K.E., F.L. Cunningham, C.A. Pritsos, K.L. Pritsos, T. Muthumalage, B.S. Dorr, K.E. Horak, K.C. Hanson-Dorr, K.M. Dean, D. Cadela, A.K. McFadden, J.E. Link, K.A. Healy, P. Tuttle, and S.J. Bursian. 2017. Weathered MC252 crude oil-induced anemia and abnormal erythroid morphology in double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) with light microscopic and ultrastructural description of Heinz bodies. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 146:29-39. doi: 10.1016/j.econv. 2017.07.030

Harr, K.E., M. Rishniw, T.L. Rupp, D. Cacela, K.M. Dean, B.S. Dorr, K.C. Hanson-Dorr, K. Healy, K. Horak, J.E. Link, D. Reavill, S.J. Bursian, and F.L. Cunningham. 2017. Dermal exposure to weathered MC252 crude oil results in echocardiographically identifiable systolic myocardial dysfunction in double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus). Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 146:76-82. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2017.04.010

Horak, K.E., S.J. Bursian, C.K. Ellis, K.M. Dean, J.E. Link, K.C. Hanson-Dorr, F.L. Cunningham, K.E. Harr, C.A. Pritsos, K.L. Pritsos, K.A. Healy, D. Cacela, and S.A. Shriner. 2017. Toxic effects of orally ingested oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill on laughing gulls. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. Online. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2017.07.018

Keiter, D.A., A.J. Davis, O.E. Rhodes Jr., F.L. Cunningham, J.C. Kilgo, K.M. Pepin, and J.C. Beasley. 2017. Effects of scale of movement, detection probability, and true population density on common methods of estimating population density. Scientific Reports 7(1):9446. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-09746-5

Keiter, D.A., J.C. Kilgo, M.A. Vukovich, F.L. Cunningham, and J.C. Beasley. Development of known-fate survival monitoring techniques for juvenile wild pigs (Sus scrofa). Wildlife Research 44(2):165-173. doi: 10.1071/WR16204   

Martin, B.E., H. Sun, M. Carrel, F.L. Cunningham, J.A. Baroch, K.C. Hanson-Dorr, S.G. Young, B. Schmit, J.M. Nolting, K. Yoon, M.W. Lutman, K. Pedersen, K. Lager, A.S. Bowman, R.D. Slemons, D.R. Smith, T. DeLiberto, and X. Wan. 2017. Feral swine in the United States have been exposed to both avian and swine influenza A viruses. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 83:e01346-17. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01346-17 

Pepin, K.M., A.J. Davis, F.L. Cunningham, K.C. VerCauteren, and D.C. Eckery. 2017. Potential effects of incorporating fertility control into typical culling regimes in wild pig populations. PLoS ONE 12(8):e0183441. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0183441

Pritsos, K.L., C.R. Perez, T. Muthumalage, K.M. Dean, D. Cacela, K. Hanson-Dorr, F. Cunningham, S.J. Bursian, J.E. Link, S. Shriner, K. Horak, and C.A. Pritsos. 2017. Dietary intake of Deepwater Horizon oil-injected live food fish by double-crested cormorants resulted in oxidative stress. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 146:62-67. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2017.06.067

Rosser, T.G., N.R. Alberson, E.T. Woodyard, F.L. Cunningham, L.M. Pote, and M.J. Griffin. 2017. Clinostomum album n. sp. and Clinostomum marginatum (Rudolphi, 1819), parasites of the great egret Ardea alba L. from Mississippi, USA. Systematic parasitology 94(1):35-49. doi: 10.1007/s11230-016-9686-0 

Webster, S.C., F.L. Cunningham, J.C. Kilgo, M. Vukovich, O.E. Rhodes, Jr., and J.C. Beasley. 2017. Effective dose and persistence of Rhodamine-B in wild pig vibrissae. Wildlife Society Bulletin 41(4):764-769. doi: 10.1002/wsb.834   

Bailey, E., L. Long, N. Zhao, J.S. Hall, J.A. Baroch, J. Nolting, L. Senter, F.L. Cunningham, G.T. Pharr, L. Hanson, R. Slemons, T.J. DeLiberto, and X. Wan. 2016. Antigenic characterization of H3 subtypes of avian influenza A viruses from North America.Avian Diseases 60:346-353.  doi: 10.1637/11086-041015-Reg.1   

King, D.T., J. Fischer, B. Strickland, W.D. Walter, F.L. Cunningham, and G. Wang. 2016. Winter and summer home ranges of American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) captured at loafing sites in the southeastern United States. Waterbirds 39(3):287-294.  doi: 10.1675/063.039.0308

Keiter, D.A., F.L. Cunningham, O.E. Rhodes, Jr., B.J. Irwin, and J.C. Beasley. 2016. Optimization of scat detection methods for a social ungulate, the wild pig, and experimental evaluation of factors affecting detection of scat. PLoS One 11(5): e0155615.  doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0155615 

Kierepka, E.M., S.D. Unger, D.A. Keiter, J.C. Beasley, O.E. Rhodes Jr., F. L. Cunningham, and A.J. Piaggio. 2016. Identification of robust microsatellite markers for wild pig fecal DNA. Journal of Wildlife Management 80:1120-1128.  doi: 10.1002/jwmg.21102  

Xu, Y., E. Bailey, E. Spackman, T. Li, H. Wang, L-P. Long, J.A. Baroch, F.L. Cunningham, X. Lin, R.G. Jarman, T.J. DeLiberto, and X-F. Wan. 2016. Limited antigenic diversity in contemporary H7 avian-origin influenza A viruses from North America. Scientific Reports 6:20688.   doi:  10.1038/srep20688  

Beasley, J., S.C. Webster, O.E. Rhodes Jr., and F.L. Cunningham. 2015. Evaluation of Rhodamine B as a biomarker for assessing bait acceptance in wild pigs. Wildlife Society Bulletin 39(1):188-192.  doi:  10.1002/wsb.510  

Sun, H., F.L. Cunningham, J. Harris, Y. Xu, L-P. Long, K. Hanson-Dorr, J.A. Baroch, P. Fioranelli, M.W. Lutman, T. Li, K. Pedersen, B.S. Schmit, J. Cooley, X. Lin,  R.G. Jarman, T.J. Deliberto, X-F. Wan. 2015. Dynamics of virus shedding and antibody responses in influenza A virus-infected feral swine. Journal of General Virology 96(9):2569-2578.  doi:10.1099/jgv.0.000225

Jubirt, M.M., L.A. Hanson, K.C. Hanson-Dorr, L. Ford, S. Lemmons, P. Fioranelli, and F.L. Cunningham. 2015. Potential for Great Egrets (Ardea alba) to transmit a virulent strain of Aeromonas hydrophila among channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) culture ponds. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 51(3):634-639. doi: 10.7589/2014-06-156

Cunningham, F.L., S.W. Jack, D. Hardin, and R.W. Wills. 2014. Risk factors associated with enteric septicemia of catfish on Mississippi commercial catfish farms. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 26(2):84-90.  doi: 10.1080/08997659.2014.886635

Feng, Z., J.A. Baroch, L.-P. Long, Y. Xu., F.L. Cunningham, K. Pedersen, M.W. Lutman, B.S. Schmit, A.S. Bowman, T.J. DeLiberto, and X.-F. Wan. 2014. Influenza A Subtype H3 viruses in feral swine, United States, 2011-2012. Emerging Infectious Diseases 20(5): 843-846. doi: 10.3201/eid2005.131578.

Cunningham F.L., Jack, S.W., Hardin D,  and Wills, R.W.  Pond-level risk factors associated with columnaris disease on Mississippi commercial catfish farms. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 2012 Sep;24(3):178-84. doi: 10.1080/08997659.2012.675932.

Feng, Z., J. Gomez, A. Bowman, J. Ye, L.-P. Long, B. Martin, K. Jia, J. Nolting, F. Cunningham, C. Cardona, J. Zhang, K.J. Yoon, R. Slemons, and X.-F. Wan. Antigenic and genetic characterization of swine influenza viruses from Ohio agricultural fairs. Journal of Virology, 87(13):7655-7667.

Wan, X.-F., J. L. Barnett, F. Cunningham, S. Chen, M. G. Yang, S. Nash, L.-P. Long, L. Ford, S. Blackmon, Y. Zhang, L. Hanson, and Q. He. Detection of African Swine Fever Virus-like Sequences in Ponds in the Mississippi Delta through Metagenomic Sequencing. Virus Genes, 46(3):441-446.

Ye, J., Y. Xu, J. Harris, A.S. Bowman, F. Cunningham, C. Cardona, K. J. Yoon, R. D. Selmons, and X.-F. Wan. Mutation from arginine to lysine at the position 189 of hemagglutinin contributes to the antigenic drift in H3N2 swine influenza viruses. Virology, 446(1-2):225-9

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