Chief Scientist and Curator, Invertebrates, Zoology

Jean-Marc Gagnon.

Contact Information

Tel: 613.364.4066
Fax: 613.364.4027

Jean-Marc Gagnon is the Chief Scientist and the Curator of the Invertebrate Collection at the museum.


  • Zoology.
  • Marine ecology and biology.
  • Taxonomy and ecology of marine benthic invertebrates (particularly polychaetes, molluscs, crustacean isopods and amphipods, echinoderms).
  • Environmental impact studies – Multivariate Analyses.
  • Natural history collections management.


  • Postdoctoral Research, Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS-Océanologie), Rimouski, 1993-94. Subject: Environmental impacts of dredged sediments from seaports on benthic communities at offshore dumping sites. Supervisor: Dr. Georges Drapeau
  • Postdoctoral Research, Université du Québec à Rimouski / Institut Maurice-Lamontagne,1991-93. Subject: Study of marine benthic invertebrates and sediment bioturbation in mesocosms., Supervisor: Dr. Norman Silverberg.
  • Ph.D., Marine Ecology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Department of Biology, 1991. Thesis title: The significance of body size and foraging mode in the structuring of Marine soft bottom polychaete assemblages, Supervisor: Dr. Richard L. Haedrich.
  • M.Sc., Marine Ecology, Université de Montréal, Département de Sciences Biologiques, 1983. Thesis title: Cycle de développement, écologie et succès d'Anonyx makarovi, amphipode gammaridien nécrophage saisonnier dans le circa-littoral de deux écosystemes du Golfe du Saint Laurent, Supervisor: Dr. Pierre Brunel.
  • B.Sc., Biological Sciences (Zoology concentration). Université de Montréal, Département de Sciences Biologiques, 1980. Honours title: Cycle de développement de Munnopsis typica (Crustacea, Isopoda) dans la nappe profonde de l'estuaire maritime du St-Laurent, Supervisor: Dr. Pierre Brunel.


Jean-Marc Gagnon © Canadian Museum of Nature


The burrowing shrimp, Calocaris templemani, its burrows viewed from the sediment surface in the depths of the St. Lawrence Estuary, and a schematic illustration of a typical burrow.

As Curator of the Invertebrate Collection, Jean-Marc has been involved in collections management at the Canadian Museum of Nature for over 20 years. This work involves interacting with the people who use the collections such as scientists from other museums, universities and government departments, and also the general public looking for information on specific species.

The museum's Invertebrate Collection contains more than a million dry specimens (insects, shells, crustaceans, echinoderms, sponges, etc.), and nearly half a million jarred samples preserved in ethanol or formaldehyde.

In addition to curating the Invertebrate Collection at the museum, Jean-Marc builds on his background in marine ecology and studies the biology of a species burrowing shrimp and the differences between distant populations of lady crabs and giant file clams along the Northwest Atlantic Coast.

Jean-Marc was on the Executive Committee of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections ( He also consults on environment impact studies for government, private and non-government organizations.

Main Research Project

Jean-Marc Gagnon © Canadian Museum of Nature


Dorsal view of the bilateral Heart Urchin, Brisaster fragilis, from the St. Lawrence Estuary.

Professional Services

  • Taxonomic identification of marine benthic invertebrates – Canadian East and Arctic coasts.
  • Environmental impact studies – marine benthos.
  • Producer of plastic PET containers for museum objects.


Invertebrate Collections, Canadian Museum of Nature

Plastic PET containers for museum objects

Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC)


Gagnon, J.-M., Kenchington, E., Port, A., Anstey, L.J. and Murillo, F.J. 2015. Morphological and genetic variation in North Atlantic giant file clams, Acesta spp. (Bivalvia: Limidae), with description of a new cryptic species in the northwest Atlantic. Zootaxa 4007 (2): 151–180.

Walker, D.E. and Gagnon, J.-M. 2014. Locomotion and Functional Spine Morphology of the Heart Urchin Brisaster fragilis, with Comparisons to B. latifrons. Journal of Marine Biology, vol. 2014, Article ID 297631, 9 pages (DOI:10.1155/2014/297631)

Gagnon, J.-M., Beaudin, L., Silverberg, N. and Mauviel, A. 2013. Mesocosm and in situ observations of the burrowing shrimp Calocaris templemani (Decapoda: Thalassinidea) and its bioturbation activities in soft sediments of the Laurentian Trough. Marine Biology 160 (10): 2687-2697. (DOI: 10.1007/s00227-013-2262-0)

Belley, R., Archambault, P., Sundby, B., Gilbert, F., and Gagnon, J.-M. 2010. Effects of hypoxia on benthic macrofauna and bioturbation in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada. Continental Shelf Research, vol. 30 (no. 12) : 1302-1313.

Archambault, P., Snelgrove, P.V.R., Fisher, J.A.D., Gagnon, J.-M., Garbary, D.J., et al. 2010. From Sea to Sea: Canada's Three Oceans of Biodiversity. PLoS ONE 5(8) : e12182. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012182. (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012182)

Martel, A.L., Gagnon, J.-M., Gosselin, M., Paquet, A. and Picard, I. (2007). Liste des noms français révisés et des noms latins et anglais à jour des mulettes du Canada (Bivalvia; Familles: Margaritiferidés, Unionidés). Le naturaliste canadien 131(2): 79-84.

Gagnon, J.-M. and Haedrich, R.L. (2003). First Record of the European Giant File Clam, Acesta excavata (Bivalvia: Pectinoidea: Limidae), in the Northwest Atlantic. The Canadian Field-Naturalist 117(3): 440-447.

Fisk, A.T., Hoekstra, P.F., Gagnon, J.-M., Duffe, J., Norstrom, R.J., Hobson, K. A., Kwan, M., and Muir, D.C.G. (2003). Influence of Habitat, Trophic Ecology and Lipids on, and Spatial Trends of, organochlorine contaminants in Arctic Marine Invertebrates. Marine Ecology Progress Series 262: 201-214.

Hobson, K.A., Fisk, A., Karnovsky, N., Holst, M., Gagnon, J.-M., and Fortier, M. (2002). A Stable Isotope (δ13C, δ15N) Model for the North Water Foodweb: Implications for Evaluating Trophodynamics and the Flow of Energy and Contaminants. Deep-Sea Research II 49: 5131-5150.

Barber, D.C, Dyke, A., Hillaire-Marcel, C., Jennings, A.E., Andrews, J.T., Kerwin, M.W., Bilodeau, G., McNeely, R., Southons, J., Morehead M.D. and Gagnon, J.-M. (1999). Forcing the Cold Event of 8,200 Years Ago by Catastrophic Drainage of Laurentide Lakes. Nature 400: 344-328.

Jean-Marc Gagnon © Canadian Museum of Nature


New species of giant file clam, Acesta cryptadelphe, from the northwest Atlantic.

Silverberg, N., Gagnon, J.-M., and Lee, K. (1995). A Benthic Mesocosm Facility for Maintaining Soft-Bottom Sediments. Netherlands Journal of Sea Research 34: 289-302.

Gagnon, J.-M. and Gilkinson, K.D. (1994). Species Discrimination and Distribution of the Sea Urchins Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis and S. pallidus in the Northwest Atlantic. Sarsia 79: 1-11.

Gilkinson, K.D., and Gagnon, J.-M. (1992). Substratum Associations of Natural Populations of Iceland Scallops (Chlamys islandica, Muller 1776) on the Northeastern Grand Bank of Newfoundland. American Malacological Bulletin 9: 59-67.

Gagnon, J.-M. and Haedrich, R.L. (1991). A Functional Approach to the Study of Labrador/Newfoundland Macrofauna. Continental Shelf Research 11: 963-976.

Haedrich, R.L. and Gagnon, J.-M. (1991). Rock Wall Fauna of Newfoundland Fjords. Continental Shelf Research 11: 1199-1208.

Sainte-Marie, B., Lamarche, G., and Gagnon, J.-M. (1990). Reproductive Bionomics of some Shallow-Water Lysianassoids in the Saint-Lawrence Estuary, with a Review on the Fecundity of Lysianassoidea (Crustacea, Amphipoda). Canadian Journal of Zoology 68: 1639-1644.

Schneider, D.C., Gagnon, J.-M. and Gilkinson, K.D. (1987). Patchiness of Epibenthic Megafauna on the Outer Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Marine Ecology Progress Series 39: 1-13.

Papers/abstracts in conference proceedings / books

Gagnon, J.-M., and Fitzgerald, G. (2004). Towards a National Collection Strategy: Reviewing Existing Holdings. pp. 215-221 In Knell, S.J. (ed.) Museums and the Future of Collecting. 2nd Edition. Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot, U.K.

Dyke, A.S., McNeely, R., Southon, J., Andrews, J.T., Peltier, W.R., Clague, J.J., England, J.H., Gagnon, J.-M., and Baldinger, A. (2003). Preliminary Assessment of Canadian Marine Reservoir Ages. Abstract in: Atmosphere-Ocean Science: Impacts and Innovation, 37th Annual Congress of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS), Ottawa, Ontario, June 2-5, 2003.

Gagnon, J.-M., and Fitzgerald, G. (1999). Towards a National Collection Strategy: Reviewing Existing Holdings. pp. 166-172 In Knell, S.J. (ed.) Museums and the Future of Collecting. Proceedings of the "Carry On Collecting: Developing a strategy for the Future of Collecting" Conference. 14-17 April 1996, Leicester, UK. Ashgate Publising, Aldershot, U.K.

Gilkinson, K.D., Gagnon, J.-M., and Schneider, D.C. (1988). The Sea Urchin Strongylocentrotus pallidus on the Grand Bank of Newfoundland. pp. 467-473 In Burke, R.D., Mladenov, P.V., Lambert, P. and Parsley, R.L. (eds.), Echinoderm Biology. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam.


Gagnon, J.-M., and Haedrich, L. (1992). Potential for Cod Ranching in Newfoundland: a Historical and Scientific Review. Report submitted to the Minister of Fisheries, Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. 25 pp.

Gagnon, J.-M. and Gilkinson, K. (1984). Animal-Substrate Relationships from a Photographic Survey of Five Epibenthic Transects in the Hibernia region of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Internal report to the Centre for Cold Ocean Resources Engineering (C‑CORE), Memorial University of Newfoundland, and to the Atlantic Geoscience Centre, Bedford Institute of Oceanography. 63 pp. 20 figs, 5 tables, 8 photos, 14 appendices.