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Dr. Grant E Brown, PhD

Professor , Biology

Dr. Grant E Brown, PhD
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4020
Website(s): Brown Lab


PhD (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Research interests

Aquatic behavioural and chemical ecology

Teaching activities

Behavioural Ecology

Research activities

Prey use publicly available information about local habitat conditions to balance the conflicting demands of predator avoidance and other activities such as foraging and reproduction. However,environments undergo both short and long term changes resulting from a combination of natural and anthropogenic pressures, leading to increased uncertainty (the incomplete or imperfect information regarding local conditions) among prey animals. A major challenge for ecologists is to determine how prey can balance these conflicts when faced with ecological uncertainty. Given that the combined effects of global climate change, invasive species and anthropogenic habitat degradation are expected to dramatically alter environments, the need to explore the effects of ecological uncertainty is key. As a cognitive and behavioural ecologist, I examine ‘how aquatic prey use public information to adjust behavioural trade-offs to current environmental conditions’. Recently, I have focussed on neophobic predator recognition as an inducible response to elevated predation risk. However, mean predation risk is only one of many determinants of the ecological uncertainty experienced by prey.

My long term objective for the next five years is to address the key question of how ecological uncertainty shapes the expression of neophobic predator avoidance and foraging patterns of prey and what are the cognitive cost associated with neophobia. Undergraduate and graduate students interested in joining my research should contact me via email to discuss possible projects.

Selected publications

Please visit lab homepage for full (and updated) publication list

Brown GE, Crane AL, Demers EEM, Chivers DP, Ferrari MCO. (in press). Uncertain foraging opportunities and predation risk exert additive effects on the induced neophobia in cichlids. Animal Behaviour.


Crane AL, Demers EEM, Feyten LEA*, Brown GE. (in press). Exploratory decisions of Trinidadian guppies when uncertain about predation risk. Animal Cognition.


Feyten LEA, Crane AL, Ramnarine IW, Brown GE. (in press). Ambient predation risk shapes the use of conflicting personal and social information about risk and safety in natural guppy populations. Behavioral Ecology.


Crane AL, Bairos-Novak KR, Goldman JA, Brown GE. (in press). Chemical disturbance cues in aquatic systems: a review and prospectus. Ecological Monographs.


Goldman JA, Crane AL, Collins E*, Feyten LEA, Brown GE. (in press). Disturbance cue communication is shaped by emitter diet and receiver background risk in Trinidadian guppies. Current Zoology


Crane AL, Thapa H, Meuthen D, Ferrari MCO, Brown GE. (2021). Early-life and parental predation risk shape fear acquisition in adult minnows. Animal Cognition 24: 471-481.


Sharpe DMT, Lira JJPR, Brown GE, Torchin ME, Hendry AP. (2021). Testing the prey naiveté hypothesis: can native prey recognize an introduced predator? Biological Invasions 23: 205-219.


Chuard PJ-C, Grant JWA, Ramnarine IW, Brown GE. (2020). Exploring the threat-sensitive predator avoidance hypothesis on mating competition in two wild populations of Trinidadian guppies. Behavioural Processes 180: 104225.


Brown GE, Demers EEM, Goldman JA, Singh A, Chivers DP, Ferrari MCO. (2020). Unpredictable risk enhances induced neophobia in Northern red-bellied dace. Animal Behaviour 168: 121-127.


Joyce BJ, Brown GE. (2020). Short term captivity drives hypothalamic plasticity and asymmetry in wild caught Northern red bellied dace (Chrosomus eos). Journal of Fish Biology 97: 577-582.


Crane AL, Feyten LEA, Ramnarine IW, Brown GE. (2020). Temporally-variable predation risk and fear retention in Trinidadian guppies. Behavioral Ecology 31: 1084-1090.


Crane AL, Feyten LEA, Ramnarine IW, Brown GE. (2020). The propensity for re-triggered predation fear in a prey fish. Scientific Reports 10: 9253.


Crane AL, Feyten LEA, Ramnarine IW, Brown GE. (2020). High-risk environments promote disturbance cue signaling among socially familiar Trinidadian guppies. Oecologia. 193: 89-95.


Goldman JA, Feyten LEA, Ramnarine IW, Brown GE. (2020). Background predation risk shapes the production and response to disturbance cues in the Trinidadian guppy. Current Zoology, 66: 255-261.


Goldman JA, Désormeaux IS, Brown GE. (2020). Disturbance cues as a source of risk assessment information under natural conditions. Freshwater Biology. 65: 981-986.


Joyce, BJ, Brown GE. (2020). Rapid changes in brain morphology in response to in predation risk in juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and northern red bellied dace (Phoxinus eos). Canadian Journal of Zoology. 98: 186-194. Editor’s Choice


Crane AL, Ferrari MCO, Rivera-Hernández IAE, Brown GE. (2020). Microhabitat complexity influences fear acquisition in fathead minnows. Behavioral Ecology. 31: 261-266.


Crane AL, Brown GE, Chivers DP, Ferrari MCO. (2020). An ecological framework of neophobia: from cells to organisms to populations. Biology Reviews. 95: 218-231.

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