Research Scientist and Section Head, Zoology

Kathy Conlan.

Contact Information

Tel: 613.364.4063
Fax: 613.364.4027

Kathy Conlan studies marine life on the Arctic and Antarctic sea floor.


  • Marine benthic ecology.
  • Amphipod systematics.


  • Ph D., Carleton University, 1988. Thesis Title: Systematics and sexual dimorphism: reclassification of the crustacean amphipod genus Jassa (Corophioidea: Ischyroceridae).
  • M.Sc., University of Victoria, 1977. Thesis Title: The effects of wood deposition from a coastal log handling operation on the benthos of a shallow sand bed in Saanich Inlet, British Columbia.
  • B.Sc. (Honours), Queen's University, 1972.


Kathy Conlan studies communities of marine life on the sea floor of the Arctic and Antarctic and how natural or human-induced changes affect them. She and her colleagues have studied the renewing effect of ice scour, the enriching effect of submarine canyons, the interactions between introduced and native marine species, and the recovery of marine life from pollution. In the Canadian Arctic, she recently found a hotspot of sea floor life that includes the preferred food for Pacific grey whales when they travel from Mexico to Alaska each summer to feed. Areas like this may become an increasingly desirable destination as receding sea ice enables the whales to visit the Canadian Arctic longer each summer. In the Antarctic, Kathy discovered that the B-15 iceberg, the world's largest recorded iceberg, could affect life on the sea floor over 100 km away when it blocked access to their main food supply, the annual plankton bloom. Such long-reaching effects had not been seen before.

Kathy is also dedicated to outreach, mentorship and conservation. She is past Chief Officer for Life Sciences in the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), represented Canada for the Canadian Committee on Antarctic Research, taught at Huntsman Marine Science Centre and Students on Ice, was an Adjunct Professor at Carleton University and Université du Québec à Rimouski, and gives popular talks and "show and tells" at the museum.

Main Research Project

Professional Services

  • Member, Canadian Committee for Antarctic Research (1998-2018).
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Biology, Carleton University (2004-2013).
  • Chief Officer (2008-2012) and Secretary (2004-8), Life Sciences Scientific Standing Group for SCAR (Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research).
  • Section Head, Life Sciences Program, Canadian Museum of Nature (2006-2012).


Canadian Committee for Antarctic Research

Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research


Conlan, Kathleen E., Hendrycks, Ed A., and Aitken, Alec E. 2018. Dense ampeliscid bed on the Canadian Beaufort Shelf: an explanation for species patterns. Polar Biology.

Conlan, Kathleen E. and Hendrycks, E. A. 2017. Ampeliscid amphipods in the Canadian western Arctic. Biodiversity Journal 8 (2): 443.

Conlan, Kathleen E., Marjorie A. Bousfield, Ed A. Hendrycks, Eric L. Mills, Francis R. Cook, and Charles G. Gruchy. 2016. A tribute to Dr. Edward Lloyd Bousfield, 1926–2016. Canadian Field-Naturalist 130(4): 359–372.

Stark, J. S., Conlan, K. E., Hughes, K. A., Kim, S. and Martins, C. C. 2016. Sources, dispersal and impacts of sewage and wastewater in Antarctica. Antarctic Environments Portal.

Conlan, K. E., D. R. Currie, S. Dittmann, S. J. Sorokin, E. Hendrycks. 2015. Macrofaunal patterns in and around du Couedic and Bonney submarine canyons, South Australia. PLoS ONE 10(11): e0143921. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0143921.

Conlan, K.E., E. Hendrycks, A. Aitken, W.Williams, S. Blasco, E. Crawford. 2013. Biomass distribution on the Canadian Beaufort Shelf. Journal of Marine Systems 127: 76–87. doi: 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2013.07.013.

Dayton, P.K., S. Kim, S.C. Jarrell, J.S. Oliver, K. Hammerstrom, J.L. Fisher, K. O'Connor, J.S. Barber, G. Robilliard, J. Barry, A.R. Thurber and K. Conlan. 2013. Recruitment, Growth and Mortality of an Antarctic Hexactinellid Sponge, Anoxycalyx joubini. PLoS ONE 8(2): e56939. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056939

di Prisco, G., Convey, P., Gutt, J., Cowan, D., Conlan, K., Verde, C. 2012. Understanding and Protecting the World's Biodiversity: the Role and Legacy of the SCAR Programme "Evolution and Biodiversity in the Antarctic". Marine Genomics 8: 3-–.

Kim, Y-H, Hong, S-S, Conlan, K E., Lee, K-S. 2012. The genus Peramphithoe Conlan and Bousfield, 1982 from Korean waters (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Ampithoidae). Zootaxa 3400: 1-19.

Piepenburg D, Archambault P, Ambrose WA, Blanchard A, Bluhm B, Carroll M, Conlan K, Cusson M, Feder H, Grebmeier JM, Jewett S, Lévesque M, Petryashev VV, Sejr MK, Sirenko BI, Wlodarska-Kowalczuk M. 2011. Towards a pan-Arctic inventory of the species diversity of the macro- and megabenthic fauna of the Arctic shelf seas. Marine Biodiversity 41: 51-70. DOI: 10.1007/sl2526-010-0059-7.

Fukuchi, M. and K. E. Conlan. 2010. Xth SCAR International Biology Symposium on "Antarctic Biology in the 21st Century – Advances in and beyond IPY –": A brief overview. Polar Science 4: 93-96.

Kim, S., Hammerstrom, K., Conlan, K. and Thurber, A. 2010. Polar ecosystem dynamics: recovery of communities from organic enrichment in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Integrative and Comparative Biology. Doi: 10.1093/icb/icq058.

Conlan, K. E., S. L. Kim, A. R. Thurber and E. Hendrycks. 2010. Benthic changes at McMurdo Station, Antarctica following local sewage treatment and regional iceberg-mediated productivity decline. Marine Pollution Bulletin 60: 419–432.

Conlan, K.E., Aitken, A., Hendrycks, E., Melling, E. and McClelland, C. (2008). Distribution Patterns of Canadian Beaufort Shelf macrobenthos. Journal of Marine Systems 74(3-4): 864-886.

Heilmayer, O., Thatje, S., McClelland, C., Conlan, K. and Brey, T. (2008). Changes in Biomass and Elemental Composition during Early Ontogeny of the Antarctic Isopod Crustacean Ceratoserolis trilobitoides. Polar Biology 31(11): 1325-1331.

Conlan, K.E. (2007). Alatajassa (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Corophiidea), a New Genus from the Pacific Coast of North America. Crustaceana 80(11): 1339-1354.

Kim, S., Thurber, A., Hammerstrom, K. and Conlan, K.E. (2007). Seastar Response to Organic Enrichment in an Oligotrophic Polar Habitat. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 346: 66-75.

Barnes, D.K.A. and Conlan, K.E. (2007). Disturbance, Colonization and Development of Antarctic Benthic Communities. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 362: 11-38.

Conlan, K.E., Rau, G. H. and Kvitek, R. G. (2006). δ13C and δ15N Shifts in Benthic Invertebrates Exposed to Sewage from McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Marine Pollution Bulletin 52: 1695-1707.

Pawlowski, J., Fahrni, J.F., Guiard, J., Conlan, K.E., Hardecker, J., Habura, A. and Bowser, S.S. (2005). Allogromiid foraminifera and gromiids from under the Ross Ice Shelf: morphological and molecular diversity. Polar Biology 28: 514-522.

Kim, S. L., Conlan, K.E., Malone, D.P. and Lewis, C.V. (2005). Possible Food Caching and Defence in the Weddell Seal: Observations from McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Antarctic Science 17(1): 71-72.

Conlan, K.E. and Kvitek, R.G. (2005). Recolonization of Ice Scours on an Exposed Arctic Coast. Marine Ecology Progress Series 286: 21-42.

Conlan, K. E., Kim, S.L., Lenihan, H.S. and Oliver, J.S. (2004). Benthic Changes over Ten Years of Organic Enrichment by McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Marine Pollution Bulletin 49: 43-60.

Lenihan, H.S., Peterson, C.H., Kim, S.L., Conlan, K.E., Fairey, R.C., McDonald, C., Grabowski, J.H. and Oliver, J.S. (2003). Variation in Marine Benthic Community Composition Allows Discrimination of Multiple Stressors. Marine Ecology Progress Series 261: 63-73.

Hendrycks, E.A. and Conlan, K.E. (2003a). Monoculodes curtipediculus (Amphipoda, Oedicerotidae), a New Species from McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Crustaceana 76(1): 49-63.

Hendrycks, E.A. and Conlan,K.E. (2003b). New and Unusual Abyssal Gammaridean Amphipoda from the North-east Pacific. Journal of Natural History 37(19): 2303-2368.

Conlan, K.E., Kim, S.L., Lenihan, H.S. and Oliver, J.S. (2003). Benthic Community Changes at McMurdo Station: a Response to Sewage Abatement? pp. 264-270 In Huiskes, A.H.L, Gieskes, W.W.C., Rozema, J., Schorno, R.M.L., van der Vies, S.M. and Wolff, W.J. (eds.) Antarctic Biology in a Global Context. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Conlan, K.E., Rau, G.H., McFeters, G.N.A. and Kvitek, R.G. (2000). Influence of McMurdo Station Sewage on Antarctic Marine Benthos: Evidence from Stable Isotopes, Bacteria, and Biotic Indices. pp. 315-318 In Davison, W., Howard-Williams, C. and Broady, P. (eds.) Antarctic Ecosystems: Models for Wider Ecological Understanding. New Zealand Natural Sciences, Caxton Press, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Conlan, K.E. (1998). Influence of the McMurdo Station Sewage Outfall on Coastal Marine Fauna. New Zealand Natural Sciences 23 (Supplement): 36.

McFeters, G.A., Edwards, D.D., Smith, J.J., Jones, W.L., Barry, J.P., Howington, J.P., Venakatesan, M.I. and Conlan, K.E. (1998). Distribution, Fate and Impact of a Sewage Outfall in an Antarctic Marine Environment. New Zealand Natural Sciences 23(Supplement): 111.

Conlan, K.E., Lenihan, H.S., Kvitek, R.G. and J.S. Oliver. (1998). Ice Scour Disturbance to Nearshore Benthic Communities in the Canadian High Arctic. Marine Ecology Progress Series 166: 1-16.

Kvitek, R.G., Conlan, K.E. and Iampietro,P. (1998). Black Pools of Death: Anoxic, Brine-Filled Ice Gouge Depressions become Lethal Traps for Benthic Organisms in an Arctic Embayment. Marine Ecology Progress Series 162: 1-10.

Lenihan, H.S., Kiest, K.A., Conlan, K.E., Slattery, P.N., Konar, B.H. and J.S. Oliver. (1995). Patterns of Survival and Behavior in Antarctic Benthic Invertebrates Exposed to Contaminated Sediments: Field and Laboratory Bioassay Experiments. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 192: 233-255.

Conlan, K.E. (1995). Thumbing Doesn't Always Make the Genus: Revision of Microjassa Stebbing (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Ischyroceridae). Bulletin of Marine Science 57(2): 333-377.

Conlan, K.E. (1995). Thumb Evolution in the Amphipod Microjassa Stebbing (Corophioidea: Ischyroceridae). Journal of Crustacean Biology 15(4): 693-702.

Conlan, K.E., Kvitek, R., Blasco, S. and Martel, A. (1995). Ice scour impact on Arctic coastal benthos. Bulletin of the Canadian Society of Zoologists 26: 60.

Conlan, K.E. (1994). Amphipod Crustaceans and Environmental Disturbance: a Review. Journal of Natural History 28: 519-554.

Conlan, K.E. 1994. New Species of the Amphipod Crustacean Genera Photis and Gammaropsis (Corophioidea: Isaeidae) from California. Amphipacifica 1: 67-74.

Fournier, J.A. and Conlan, K.E. (1994). A New Species of Ophryotrocha (Polychaeta, Dorvilleidae) Associated with Ice Scours in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. In Dauvin, J.-C., Laubier, L. and Reish, D.J. (eds.). Actes de la 4ème Conférence internationale des Polychètes. Mémoires du Museum national d'Histoire naturelle 162: 185-190.

Conlan, K.E., and Chess, J.R. (1992). Phylogeny and Ecology of a New Kelp Boring Amphipod, Peramphithoe stypotrupetes New Species (Corophioidea: Ampithoidae). Journal of Crustacean Biology 12: 410-422.

Conlan, K.E. (1991). Precopulatory Mating Behavior and Sexual Dimorphism in the Amphipod Crustacea. Hydrobiologia 223: 255-282.

Conlan, K.E. (1990). Revision of the Crustacean Amphipod Genus Jassa Leach (Corophioidea: Ischyroceridae). Canadian Journal of Zoology 68: 2031-2075.

Conlan, K.E. (1989). Delayed Reproduction and Adult Dimorphism in Males of the Amphipod Genus Jassa (Corophioidea: Ischyroceridae): an Explanation for Systematic Confusion. Journal of Crustacean Biology 9(4): 601-625.

Conlan, K.E. (1988). Phenetic and Cladistic Methods Applied to a Small Genus (Corophioidea: Ischyroceridae: Microjassa) and a Larger Outgroup. Crustaceana 13(Supplement): 143-166.

Conlan, K.E. (1983). The Amphipod Superfamily Corophioidea in the Northeastern Pacific Region. Family Isaeidae. Systematics and Distributional Ecology. National Museum of Natural Sciences (Ottawa). Publications in Natural Sciences 4: 1-75.

Conlan, K.E. 1982. Revision of the Gammaridean Amphipod Family Ampithoidae Using Numerical Analytical Methods. Canadian Journal of Zoology 60(8): 2015-2027.

Conlan, K.E. and Bousfield, E.L. (1982). The Amphipod Superfamily Corophioidea in the Northeastern Pacific Region. Family Ampithoidae: Systematics and Distributional Ecology. National Museum of Natural Sciences (Ottawa). Publications in Biological Oceanography 10: 41-75.

Conlan, K.E. and Bousfield, E.L. (1982). The Amphipod Superfamily Corophioidea in the Northeastern Pacific Region. Family Aoridae: Systematics and Distributional Ecology. National Museum of Natural Sciences (Ottawa). Publications in Biological Oceanography 10: 77-101.

Conlan, K.E. and Ellis, D.V. (1979). Effects of wood waste on sand-bed benthos. Marine Pollution Bulletin 10: 262-267.

Ellis, D.V., and Conlan, K.E. (1979). Defining species associations for pollution assessment. Canadian Research 12(7): 15-19.