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Shelley Adamo

Shelley Adamo

Related Information

Research Website

Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

Email: Shelley.Adamo@dal.ca
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
  • Cephalopod behaviour

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

  • 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.
  • Adamo SA, Kovalko I, Easy RH and Stotz 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. doi: 10.1093/icb/icu005
  • Adamo SA, Kovalko 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.
  • 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.
  • Adamo SA, Baker JL, Lovett MEL, Wilson G (2012) Climate change and temperate zone insects:  the tyranny of thermodynamics meets the world of limited resources.  Environmental Entomology. 41: 1644-1652.
  • Adamo SA (2012) The effects of the stress response on immune function in invertebrates: An evolutionary perspective on an ancient connection. Hormones and Behavior. 62: 324-330
  • Adamo SA. (2016) Do insects feel pain? A question at the intersection of animal behaviour, philosophy and robotics.  Animal Behaviour. 118: 75-79.
  • Adamo SA, Davies 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 SA, Gomez-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 ZR, Acker M, Kovalko I and Adamo SA (2015) Immune resistance and tolerance mechanisms are linked and variably influenced by food availability and chronic immune activation.  Functional Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12454
  • Huang J, Wu SF, Li XH, Adamo SA, Ye GY (2012) The insect stress neurohormone octopamine can both enhance and suppress cellular immune responses via a concentration-sensitive alpha-adrenergic-like receptor.   Brain, Behavior and Immunity. 26:942-950.
  • Adamo SA and Baker JL  (2011) Conserved features of chronic stress across phyla:  the effects of long-term stress on behaviour and the concentration of the neurohormone octopamine in the cricket, Gryllus texensis. Hormones and Behavior. 60: 478-483.


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