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Carolyn Walsh

B.Sc.(Hons.) Memorial, M.A. Toronto, Ph.D. Memorial

Assistant Professor

Office: SN3089
Phone: (709) 864-4738

Affiliations: Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology

Co-Chair, 2011-2014

Canine Research Unit at Memorial University

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Research Interests

Carolyn Walsh

My research focuses on what I consider the most fascinating area of Psychology and Biology: the interface between every living organism and its environment,¹ or, in other words, Behaviour!

Along with many others, I subscribe to Niko Tinbergen's "Four Questions" about behaviour as the framework for animal behaviour research. I ask (and, hopefully, answer) questions that range from the proximate to the ultimate causes of behaviour. I see my research as not necessarily being focused on a single species, or taxonomic group (ahem... grant-funding purposes excepted, of course). Rather, I am interested in broader theoretical questions about behaviour, in particular, questions about:

1) reproductive behaviour in birds (Common Murres and European Starlings),

2) the effects of early environments (e.g., bird egg lay order, social experiences in young animals) on the subsequent neural, endocrine, and cognitive development of individuals, and

3) how individual temperament interacts with social experience to influence an individual's social rank, as well as performance on learning and memory tasks.

To investigate the latter two areas, I study domestic Yucatan miniature pigs, and domestic dogs.

Work with recent CABE MSc student Amy-Lee Kouwenberg and colleague Dr. Gerard Martin focused on examining whether minipigs show evidence of episodic-like memory. Our paper can be found in Applied Animal Behaviour Science (spoiler alert: they do!). Gerard and I continue work on pig cognition through co-supervising graduate students and occasionally collaborating with Dr. Robert Bertolo (Department of Biochemistry).

Dr. Rita Anderson and I, along with our students, have formed the "Canine Research Unit" or CRU lab at Memorial University. Our focus is on the social behaviour of domestic dogs, and the relationships between hormones (such as cortisol and testosterone), dog personality, and behaviour. Dr. Anne Storey is also a collaborator, expanding our research to include closer investigation of human-dog relationships and the hormone involved in social bonding, oxytocin.

As a dog enthusiast as well as an empiricist, this work is very interesting and lots of fun!

I am always happy to speak to potential graduate students who might share some of my research interests. Be warned, though: my research program involves getting up close and personal with live animals (and, depending on the project, sometimes their brains). Not everyone finds joy in this.

I am most interested in recruiting students who might like to work with dogs (all living as companion animals), pigs (raised in the lab). There might also be some limited opportunities to carry out seabird fieldwork and work with free-living starlings (nestbox colonies near campus).

Take a look at my papers, conference presentations, and other interests to see if you might want to consider graduate work in my lab at Memorial. Please note that funding and space restraints sometimes make it necessary to turn down very qualified students. If this happens, whether by me or any other professor, please don't take it personally- it is very likely our loss!

¹For an eloquent description of the study of animal behaviour, go to:


Selected Publications

Kouwenberg, A-L., Martin, G.M., Thorpe, C., Skinnner, D. & Walsh, C.J. (in prep) Spontaneous object recognition: a test of episodic memory in animals. In: Object Recognition (ISBN: 979-953-307-621-7). Rijeka: InTech Open Publishing.

Storey, A.E.& Walsh, C.J. (in press). Biological basis of mammalian parenting behavior. In: Handbook of Father Involvement: Multidsiciplinary Perspectives (2nd edition). NY: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.

Au, K.L., Storey, A.E. & Walsh, C.J. (2010). Will the early bird get the mate? Egg lay order influences neural development in the European Starling. Behavioural Brain Research, 207, 512-514.

Storey, A.E. & Walsh, C.J. (2010). How fathers evolve: a functional analysis. Invited chapter In: Booth, A., McHale, S.M., Landale, N.S. (Eds) Biosocial Research Contributions to Understanding Family Processes and Problems. NY: Springer.

Kouwenberg, A-L, Walsh, C.J, Morgan, B.E. & Martin, G.M. (2009). Episodic-like memory in cross-bred Yucatan minipigs (Sus scrofa). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 16, 165-172.

Walsh, C.J., Ralph, T.M. & Storey, A.E. (2009). Enclosure size and hormonal state affect timing of nest return in female meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 123, 115-124.

Wilhelm, S.I, Walsh, C.J. & Storey, A.E. (2008). Time budgets of Common Murres vary in relation to changes in inshore capelin availability. Condor, 110, 316-324.

Doody, L.M, Wilhelm, S.I, McKay, D.W., Walsh, C.J & Storey, A.E. (2007). The effects of variable foraging conditions on common murre (Uria aalge) corticosterone concentrations and parental provisioning. Hormones and Behaviour, 53, 140-148.

Cameron-McMillan, M.L., Walsh, C.J., Wilhelm, S.I. & Storey, A.E. (2007). Male chicks are more costly to rear than females in a monogamous seabird, the Common Murre. Behavioral Ecology, 18, 81-85.

Walsh, C.J., Wilhelm, S.I., Cameron-MacMillan, M.L. & Storey, A.E. (2006). Extra-pair copulations in female Common Murres: a mate attraction strategy? Behaviour, 143, 1241-1262.

Storey, A.E., Delahunty, K.M., McKay, D.W., Walsh, C.J. & Wilhelm, S.I. (2006). Social and hormonal bases of individual differences in the parental behaviour of birds and mammals. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 60, 235-243.

Moody, A.T., Wilhelm, S.I., Cameron, M.L., Walsh, C.J., & Storey, A.E. (2005). Divorce in Common Murres: relationship to assessment of parental quality. Behavioural Ecology & Sociobiology, 57, 224-230.

Walsh, C.J., Wilhelm, S.I., Stenhouse, I.J. & Storey, A.E. (2001). Social interactions of breeding Common Murres and a Razorbill. The Wilson Bulletin, 113(4), 449-452.

Wilhelm, S.I., Walsh, C.J., Stenhouse, I.J. & Storey, A.E. (2001). A possible Common Guillemot Uria aalge X Razorbill Alca torda hybrid. Atlantic Seabirds, 3, 85-88.

Storey, A.E., Walsh, C.J., Quinton, R.L., & Wynne‑Edwards, K.E. (2000). Hormonal correlates of paternal responsiveness in new and expectant fathers. Evolution and Human Behavior, 21, 79‑95.

Abbott, M.L, Walsh, C.J., Storey, A.E., Stenhouse, I.J., & Harley, C.W. (1999). Hippocampal volume is related to complexity of nesting habitat in Leach's storm‑petrel, a nocturnal procellariiform seabird. Brain, Behavior, & Evolution, 53, 271‑276.

Conference Presentations

Dutton, E. E., Anderson, R. E., Walsh, C. J. (2011). "Do I know you?" Does partner familiarity influence social interactions among dogs in a park setting?Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 6, 6. Poster presentation at the 2nd Canine Science Forum, Vienna, Austria, July 2010.

Walsh, C. J., Howse, M., Green, C., Butler, L., Anderson, R. E. (2011). "Stop that!": People interrupting dog behaviors in a dog park setting. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 6, 7. Poster presentation at the 2nd Canine Science Forum, Vienna, Austria, July 2010.

Walsh, C.J. (2011). Dog parks: what do we know about what dogs do? Invited presentation at the Interdisciplinary Forum for Applied Animal Behaviour (IFAAB), New Orleans, LA, USA, February 2011.

Walsh, C.J., Mian, R., Kouwenberg, A-L. & Martin, G.M. (2010). What do early environment and sex-influenced differences in Yucatan miniature pig (Sus scrofa) behaviour really reflect? Poster presentation at Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour & Cognitive Science (BBCS), Halifax, NS, June 2010.

Rector, M.E., Walsh, C.J., McKay, D.W. & Storey, A.E. (2009). Sex differences in corticosterone levels of Atlantic Puffins. Poster presentation at the 79th Meeting of the Cooper Ornithological Society, Tuscon, Arizona, April 2009.

Storey, A.E., Wilhelm, S.I., McKay, D.W., Takahashi, L.S. & Walsh, C.J. (2009). Corticosterone elevation in breeding Common Murres (Uria aalge): stress or adaptive response? Paper presentation at the 79th Meeting of the Cooper Ornithological Society, Tuscon, Arizona, April 2009.

Mian, R., Martin, G., & Walsh, C. (2008). Examination of contextual control of memory and episodic memory. Poster presentation at Canadian Psychological Association 69th Convention, Halifax, NS. June 2008.

Walsh, C.J. & Au, K. L. (2008). Egg order influences neural development in European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Poster presentation at Animal Behavior Society Conference, Snowbird, Utah, , August 2008.

Kouwenberg, A-L., Walsh, C.J. & Martin, G.M. (2008). Episodic-like memory in crossbed Yucatan mini-pigs (Sus scrofa). Poster presentation at Animal Behavior Society Conference, Snowbird, Utah, , August 2008.

Howse, M., Walsh, C.J. & Anderson, R.E. (2008). Normal social behaviour of domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Poster presentation at Animal Behavior Society Conference, Snowbird, Utah, , August 2008.

Storey, A.E., Walsh, C.J., Doody, L.M. & Wilhelm, S.I. (2007). Negotiation in Common Murres, a monogamous seabird: how doe birds ‘ask’ their mates to provide more parental care? Animal Behavior Society Conference, Vermont, , July 2007.

Walsh, C.J., Storey, A.E. & Wilhelm, S.I. (2005). Getting to know you: extra-pair copulation as a mate attraction strategy in Common Murres. Poster presentation at the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science, 15th annual meeting, July 14-17, Montreal, Quebec .

Storey, A.E., Wilhelm, S.I., & Walsh, C.J. (2004). Evolution of parental motivation in the Common Murre (Uria aalge). Poster presentation at Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science, 14th annual meeting, June 12-14, St. John’s, Newfoundland

Other Interests

Nature Newfoundland and Labrador ( We are a province-wide organization interested in promoting and protecting the natural values of our beautiful province for all to enjoy.

Newfoundland Athletic Dog Association ( The Newfoundland Athletic Dog Association, Inc. is a member-based not-for-profit organization located in St. John's, Newfoundland. We focus on dog sports, in particular agility and flyball.

Important Bird Areas (administered by Nature Canada and Bird Life International)
This educational outreach program has exposed school-aged children and communities to the seabird research carried out in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, a designated worldwide Important Bird Area (IBA). More information about the IBA & links can be found at

The Alder Institute (
Alder is a not-for-profit collective of people interested in science, art, and media in Newfoundland & Labrador. Visit the website to learn more!