Canid and Reptile Behaviour and Olfaction Lab (Simon Gadbois)

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The Canid and Reptile Behaviour and Olfaction Team at Dalhousie integrates knowledge and expertise from biology (ethology, ecology, and conservation biology) and experimental animal psychology (animal learning, animal psychophysics) to train dogs to find by scent target species-at-risk or their signs (e.g., hair, urine marks, faeces, etc.).

We are focussing on conservation applications for research on terrestrial reptiles (ribbon snakes, Blanding’s turtles, wood turtles) and coyotes.

For field work, we are focussing on two skills: Searching (air-scenting/trailing and tracking) and detection in difficult conditions (e.g., semi-aquatic environment and detection of subterranean odours). The lab is working on training methods, as well as methods of evaluating olfactory performance. We are interested in fundamental issues (perceptual and motivational processes, learning theory, physiology, etc.) that will contribute to perfect field applications and training.

Species investigated by our canine research assistants have included:



For further information, do not hesitate to contact Dr. Gadbois (