Chief Scientist and Curator, Invertebrate Collections, 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: Georges Drapeau, Ph.D.
  • Postdoctoral Research, Université du Québec à Rimouski / Institut Maurice-Lamontagne,1991-93. Subject: Study of marine benthic invertebrates and sediment bioturbation in mesocosms., Supervisor: Norman Silverberg, Ph.D.
  • 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: Richard L. Haedrich, Ph.D..
  • 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: Pierre Brunel, Ph.D.
  • 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: Pierre Brunel, Ph.D.


Jean-Marc Gagnon © Canadian Museum of Nature


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

As Curator of the Invertebrate Collection, Jean-Marc has been involved in collections management at the Canadian Museum of Nature for over 26 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 and distribution of deep-water species such as the giant file clam, and the differences between distant populations of lady crabs along the Northwest Atlantic Coast.

Jean-Marc was on the Executive Committee of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (

Main Research Project

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.

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)


Jean-Marc Gagnon © Canadian Museum of Nature


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

Pearson, J.M.N., J.A. Kidd, K.M. Knysh, M.R. Van den Heuvel, J.-M. Gagnon, and S.C. Courtenay. 2019. Identification of native and non-native grass shrimps Palaemon spp. (Decapoda: Palaemonidae) by citizen science monitoring programs in Atlantic Canada. Journal of Crustacean Biology 39(2): 189–192.

Gagnon, J.-M., P. Pocklington, S. Byers and V. MacDonald. 2017. Obituary: Judith (Judy) Anne Fournier (1943–2016). Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 97: 1205–1206. (Proceedings of the 12th International Polychaete Conference Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales Cardiff, Wales, UK, 1-5 August 2016). Icon: Open access.

Roy, V. and J.-M. Gagnon. 2016. Natural history museum data on Canadian Arctic marine benthos. Marine Biodiversity. 48: 1357–1367.

Gagnon, J.-M., E. Kenchington, A. Port, L.J. Anstey and F.J. Murillo. 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. Icon: Open access.

Walker, D.E. and J.-M. Gagnon. 2014. Locomotion and Functional Spine Morphology of the Heart Urchin Brisaster fragilis, with Comparisons to B. latifrons. Journal of Marine Biology, 2014, Article ID 297631, 9 pp. Icon: Open access.

Gagnon, J.-M., L. Beaudin, N. Silverberg and A. Mauviel. 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.

Belley, R., P. Archambault, B. Sundby, F. Gilbert and J.-M. Gagnon. 2010. Effects of hypoxia on benthic macrofauna and bioturbation in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada. Continental Shelf Research 30: 1302–1313.

Archambault, P., P.V.R. Snelgrove, J.A.D. Fisher, J.-M. Gagnon, D.J. Garbary et al. 2010. From Sea to Sea: Canada's Three Oceans of Biodiversity. PLoS ONE : e12182. Icon: Open access.

Martel, A.L., J.-M. Gagnon, M. Gosselin, A. Paquet and I. Picard. 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: 79–84.

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

Fisk, A.T., P.F. Hoekstra, J.-M. Gagnon, J. Duffe, R.J. Norstrom, K. A. Hobson, M. Kwan and D.C.G. Muir. 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. Icon: Open access.

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

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

Gagnon, J.-M. and K.D. Gilkinson. 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 J.-M. Gagnon. 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. Icon: Open access.

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

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

Sainte-Marie, B., G. Lamarche and J.-M. Gagnon. 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. Icon: Open access.

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

Papers/Abstracts in Conference Proceedings/Books

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

Dyke, A.S., R. McNeely, J. Southon, J.T. Andrews, W.R. Peltier, J.J. Clague, J.H. England, J.-M. Gagnon and A. Baldinger. 2003. [Abstract] Preliminary Assessment of Canadian Marine Reservoir Ages. 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 G. Fitzgerald. 1999. Towards a National Collection Strategy: Reviewing Existing Holdings. 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 Publishing, Aldershot, U.K., pp. 166-172.

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


Gagnon, J.-M. and R.L. Haedrich. 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 K. Gilkinson. 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 (CCORE), Memorial University of Newfoundland, and to the Atlantic Geoscience Centre, Bedford Institute of Oceanography. 63 pp. 20 figs, 5 tables, 8 photos, 14 appendices.