Gries Lab

Research Interests

We study mechanisms of insect/spider/animal communication and resource-foraging. We elucidate semiochemical, sonic, visual, infrared and bacterial communication signals and foraging cues, and investigate how these signals or cues may have evolved in response to community composition, scarceness of resources, and physical parameters of the habitat. We also develop acquired knowledge for sophisticated control of pest insects or animals.
Most of our current study objects (hobo spiders; house flies; Drosophila fruit flies; mosquitoes; twig and tree borer moths; lymantriid moths; earwigs; Cimex, Boisea, and Leptoglossus bugs; cecidomyiid midges; cockroaches; braconid wasps; silverfish and firebrats; etc.) have major economic or ecological implications. We work on them under the premise that their biology and communication ecology is as intriguing as that of any other insect.
Findings of our research can be developed for earth-friendly control of insects in urban, agricultural, and forest settings. This is why we attract funding from Industrial Sponsors. In June 2004, our lab has obtained an NSERC-Industrial Research Chair (IRC) in Multimodal Animal Communication Ecology, with Scotts Canada Ltd. as the current main sponsor. This NSERC-IRC is a triple-win because: (1) it provides a perfect training and research environment for many graduate and undergraduate students, and pushes the frontiers of science; (2) it provides society with earth-friendly solutions for pest problems; and (3) it generates new products and technologies for the industrial sponsors.


We thank Adam Blake & Stephen DeMuth for web design, Greg Elhers for photos of lab facilities and graduate students for banner photos.

In the News

The secret love lives of spiders
as featured in an article from CBC News

The secret love lives of spiders are the focus of a Simon Fraser University graduate student's research. Andreas Fischer started out studying spiders because so many people fear them. He says his research on how spiders communicate and mate is useful for pest control management.

See Related Stories: CBC News British Columbia, CBC Radio, Global News, CTV News

What's with the flying ants in Metro Vancouver?
as featured in an article from Vancouver Sun

Credit: Danielle Hoefele

Swarms of ants have taken to the skies in Metro Vancouver as the winged queens — followed by suitor drones entranced by their irresistible royal come-hither pheromone — lift off on a “nuptial flight” to breed, build a new nest, and start a new colony.

See Related Stories: Global News