Canid Behaviour Research Lab (Simon Gadbois, PhD)
Research program and some representative publications
General themes and research program:
- Canine olfactory learning, motivation, and psychophysics
- Gadbois, S. & Reeve, C. (2014). Canine Olfaction: Scent, Sign and Situation. In A. Horowitz (ed.). Domestic Dog Cognition and Behavior. New York: Springer.
- Wildlife conservation dogs for the surveying and tracking of reptiles at risk:
- Nova Scotia ribbon snakes (Thamnophis sauritus).
- Wood turtles (Glyptemys insculpta)
- Blanding’s turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) ~ nest detection only, trials in 2010.
- Natural action sequences in Canids, more specifically, food caching sequences and other action sequences in Canids (Vulpes vulpes, Canis latrans, Canis lupus).
- Fentress, J.C. and Gadbois, Simon (2001). The development of action sequences. In E.M. Blass (ed), Handbooks of Behavioral Neurobiology, Volume 13: Developmental Psychobiology, Developmental Neurobiology and Behavioral Ecology: Mechanisms and Early Principles. New York: Kluwer Academic Publishers. (ISBN 0–306–46489–6)
- Gadbois, S., Sievert, O., Reeve, C., Harrington, F.H., Fentress, J.C. (2015). Revisiting the concept of behaviour patterns in animal behavior with an example from food-caching sequences in Wolves (Canis lupus), Coyotes (Canis latrans), and Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes). Behavioural Processes, 110, 3–14.
- Coyote (Canis latrans) behavioural ecology and ethology in the Cape Breton Highlands.
- Call-response surveys.
- Scent-marking surveys (scats, urine marks) and tracking with visual/human and olfactory/canine methods: distribution and density and proximity to human traffic.
- Non-invasive behavioural endocrinology (scat glucocorticoids).
- Development of a behaviour modification protocol to prevent negative interactions with humans.
- Canine-human symbiology
- Gadbois, Simon (2013). La symbiose humain-chien dans une perspective psychoéthologique, des origines à aujourd’hui. In “Communication authentique entre êtres humains et animaux”. Sous la direction de Georges-Henri Arenstein. Saint-Sauveur (Québec) Canada : Marcel Broquet.
- Social behaviour (agonistic and affiliative) and endocrinology in Canis lupus.
- McLeod, P. J., Moger, W. H., Ryon, J., Gadbois, S., & Fentress, J.C. (1996). The relation between urinary cortisol levels and social behaviour in captive timber wolves. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 74, 209–216.
- Moger, W. H., Ferns, L., Wright, J. R., Gadbois, Simon & McLeod, P. J. (1998). Elevated urinary cortisol in a timber wolf (Canis lupus): Result of social behaviour or adrenal pathology? Canadian Journal of Zoology, 76, 1957–1959.
- Doctoral dissertation: The socioendocrinology of aggression-mediated stress in timber wolves (Canis lupus). (ISBN 0–612–75700–5).
Corollary research questions with domestic canines:
- Methodological challenges to current popular methods.
- Naturalistic and ecologically valid scent processing for performance and accuracy.
- Natural action patterns in scent processing.
- Play as reward, and play drive in working dogs.
- Natural and conditioned sniffing.
Research methodology, ideology and theoretical influences:
- Non-invasive neuroscience behavioural neuroscience: Non-invasive measures of physiological correlates of behaviour.
- Unobtrusive/non-intrusive behavioural studies of wildlife in natural environments.
- Sequential analysis of behaviour. Spatio-temporal patterns in behavioural events.
- Small-n and n-of–1 research designs, time series analyses, idiographic research.
- Classical ethology, communication and information theories, zoosemiotics.
Funding sources and partners
- IWK Health Centre, Halifax, NS
- Acadia University, Wolfville, NS
- Environment Canada
- Parks Canada
- Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI)
- Sylvar Technologies
- Forest Protection Limited
- Natural Resources Canada: Canadian Forest Service
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
- Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, Province de Québec
- NS Power and Oxford Frozen Foods
Other research: behavioural neuroscience research with fish models
- Electro-communication and social behaviour in the elephant nose fish (Gnathonemus petersii).
- Manganese toxicity in zebra fish (Danio rerio).
- Olfactory learning in zebra fish (Danio rerio).
- The mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus) as sentinel (indicator) species and model systems in behavioural ecotoxicology (to investigate neurotoxins and endocrine disrupting chemicals).
- Olfactory (classical conditioning) with terrestrial gastropods (pulmonates): Cepaea hortensis, Limax maximus
All the canine (dog) research is done with pets, i.e., dogs volunteered by their owners (with owners giving informed consent for participation similar to research conducted with children). No dogs are acquired for the sole purpose of being used in research projects. No dogs are kennelled, temporarily or permanently, in the Life Science Centre or in my laboratory. Some dogs may spend a day or half a day in the lab but will be given frequent walks by lab staff and volunteers and will always be returning home later in the day. All research carried in my laboratory is non-invasive, does not require sleep, water or food deprivation and induces no anxiety or stress.
- Some of the canid research is or was in collaboration with John Fentress (deceased, formerly from Dalhousie University), Fred Harrington (retired, formerly from Mount Saint Vincent University), Peter McLeod (retired, formerly from Acadia University), Barbara Molnar (Ph.D. candidate, Université de Neufchâtel), Soren Bondrup-Nielsen (Acadia University).
- The reptile research (Current: Nova Scotia ribbon snake, Blanding’s turtle, wood turtle) is or was in collaboration with Parks Canada (Deborah Austin, Stephen Flemming), and Environment Canada (HSP) / Acadia University (Stephen Mockford and Tom Herman).
- The Fundulus research was in collaboration with Shannon Bard (ecotoxicologist, Environmental Programme, Dalhousie); the Danio research was in collaboration with Roger Croll and Alan Fine (both in Physiology and Biophysics, Dalhousie); the Gnathonemus research was in collaboration with Leslie Phillmore (Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie).