Shelley Adamo

Shelley Adamo

Related Information

Research Website

Phone: (902) 494-8853
Fax: (902) 494-6585
Mailing Address: 
Dalhousie University, Life Sciences Centre, Rm 3324, 1355 Oxford Street, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Invertebrate behavioural physiology
  • Comparative psychoneuroimmunology
  • Ecoimmunology

Cross Appointments

Department of Biology


BSc (Toronto)
PhD (McGill)

Research Interests

I explore the interactions between behaviour and physiology, using invertebrate model systems.  For example, I study how and why animals change their behaviour due to infection.  In some cases the change in behaviour is produced by the host to help it overcome its infection, in some cases the pathogen manipulates the host’s behaviour for its own ends.  I also study how and why immune function is influenced by factors such as stress and reproduction.  The ability to resist disease is partly determined by behaviour.  We use a range of techniques including behavioural studies, physiological methods, biochemical assays (e.g. HPLC) and molecular techniques.

Selected Publications

  • Miyashita A, Lee TYM, McMillan E, Easy R, and Adamo SA (2019) Immunity for nothing and the eggs for free: Apparent lack of both physiological trade-offs and terminal reproductive investment in female crickets (Gryllus texensis). PLoS ONE.  14 (5):  e0209957
  • Adamo SA (2019) Turning your victim into a collaborator:  Exploitation of insect behavioural control systems by parasitic manipulators.  Current Opinion in Insect Science. 33: 25-29
  • Ferguson LV, Beckett NH, French HC, Campbell MH, Smith TG, and Adamo SA. (2019) Sugar interacts with temperature to influence reproduction and immunity in adult mosquitoes.  Canadian Journal of Zoology.  97: 424-428.
  • Adamo SA (2017) The ‘Precautionary Principle’ – A work in progress.  Animal Sentience. 16 (4)
  • Hall L, Miller, D and Adamo SA (2018) Eating when ill is risky: Immune defense impairs food detoxification in the caterpillar Manduca sextaJournal of Experimental Biology. 221: jeb173336.
  • Adamo SA and McKee R (2017) Differential effects of predator cues vs. fight-or-flight behaviour on reproduction in the cricket Gryllus texensisAnimal Behaviour. 134: 1-8.
  • Adamo SA, Easy R, Kovalko I, MacDonald J, McKeen A, Swanburg T, Turnbull KF, and Reeve C. (2017) Predator stress-induced immunosuppression: trade-off, immune redistribution or immune reconfiguration? Journal of Experimental Biology. 220: 868-875. doi: 10.1242/jeb.153320
  • Adamo SA. (2017) The stress response and immune system share, borrow, and reconfigure their physiological network elements: evidence from the insects.  Hormones and Behavior. 88: 25-30. doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2016.10.003
  • Adamo SA (2017) Stress responses sculpt the insect immune system, allowing for better defense in an ever- changing world.  Developmental and Comparative Immunology. 66: 24-32.
  • Adamo SA (2016) Review of “This Is Your Brain on Parasites” by K. McAuliffe (2016), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  Science. 363 (6295): 128. doi: 10.1126/science.aaf9539.
  • Adamo SA (2016) Consciousness Explained – or Consciousness Redefined?  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS), 113 (27):
  • Adamo SA (2016) Subjective experience in insects:  Definitions and other difficulties.  Animal Sentience. 2016.127.
  • Adamo SA (2016) Hypercompetition for academic positions promotes attrition of women in biology: Evidence from Canada. Animal Behavior Society Newsletter. 61 (1): Essay and Discussion Section.
  • Adamo SAKovalko I, Turnbull K, Easy RH, Miles CI. (2016) The parasitic wasp Cotesia congregata uses multiple mechanisms to control host (Manduca sexta) behaviour.  Journal of Experimental Biology. 219: 3750-3758. doi: 10.1242/jeb.145300
  • Sullivan K, Fairn E, and Adamo SA (2016) Sickness behaviour in the cricket Gryllus texensis: Comparison with animals across phyla.  Behavioural Processes. 128: 134-143.  doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2016.05.004.
  • Adamo SA. (2016) Do insects feel pain? A question at the intersection of animal behaviour, philosophy and robotics.  Animal Behaviour. 118: 75-79.
  • Adamo SADavies G, Easy R, Kovalko I, Turnbull K (2016) Reconfiguration of the immune system network during food shortages in the caterpillar Manduca sextaJournal of Experimental Biology219:706-718.  doi:10.1242/jeb.132936
  • Adamo SAGomez-Juliano A, LeDue E, Little SN, Sullivan K (2015) Effects of immune challenge on aggressive behaviour:  how to fight two battles at once.  Animal Behaviour. 105:153-161.  featured in July issue
  • Stahlschmidt ZRAcker M, Kovalko I and Adamo SA (2015) The double-edged sword of immune defense and damage control: do food availability and immune challenge alter the balance?  Functional Ecology. 29 (11): 1445-1452. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12454
  • Sneddon LU, Elwood RW, Adamo SA, and Leach MC (2014) Defining and assessing animal pain.  Animal Behaviour. 97: 201-212.
  • Adamo SA (2014) Parasitic aphrodisiacs:  Manipulation of the hosts’ behavioral defenses by sexually transmitted parasites.  Integrative and Comparative Biology. 54: 159-165. doi: 10.1093/icb/icu036.
  • Stahlschmidt ZR and Adamo SA (2014) Food-limited mothers favor offspring quality over offspring number: a principal components approach.  Functional Ecology. 29 (11) 88-95. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12287
  • Adamo SAKovalko I, Easy RH and Stoltz D (2014) A viral aphrodisiac in the cricket Gryllus texensis.  Journal of Experimental Biology. 217:1970-1976
  • Adamo SA.  (2014) The effects of stress hormones on immune function may be vital for the adaptive reconfiguration of the immune system during fight-or-flight behavior. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 54 (3): 419-426. doi: 10.1093/icb/icu005
  • Stahlschmidt ZO'Leary M and Adamo SA (2014) Food limitation leads to risky decision-making and to trade-offs with oviposition.  Behavioral Ecology. 25(1): 223-227.
  • Adamo SAKovalko I, Mosher B (2013) The behavioural effects of predator-induced stress responses in the cricket (Gryllus texensis):  the upside of the stress response. Journal of Experimental Biology. 216: 4608-4614.
  • Stahlschmidt ZR and Adamo SA (2013) Warm and cozy: Temperature and predation risk interactively affect oviposition-site selection.  Animal Behaviour. 86: 553-558.
  • Stahlschmidt ZR and Adamo SA (2013) Context dependency and generality of fever in insects.  Naturwissenschaften. 100: 691-696.
  • Stahlschmidt ZR, Rollinson N, Acker M and Adamo SA. (2013). Are all eggs created equal? Food availability and the fitness tradeoff between reproduction and immunity. Functional Ecologist. 27 (3): 800-806. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12071
  • Adamo SA (2013) Parasites: Evolution’s neurobiologists. Journal of Experimental Biology.  216: 3-10.
  • Adamo SA (2013) Attrition of women in the biological sciences:  Workload, motherhood and other explanations revisited.  Biosciences. 63: 43-48.


NESC/PSYO 3165--Neurothology
NESC/PSYO 2570--Introduction to Neuroscience II. Cellular Neurobiology
NESC/PSYO 3180--Psychoneuroimmunology/Ecological Immunology