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Gail S. Anderson

Burnaby Mountain Endowed Professor

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Research Highlights

Most Significant Contributions to My Field

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Aquatic Taphonomy

Study of faunal succession and decompositional stages of carrion in aquatic ecosystems, with specific reference to entomology and ecology. Faunal succession and species diversity was affected by water velocity. Succession was more related to season than to decomposition stage. Decomposition was slower than previously reported in other regions. Many publications and academic conference presentations and several graduate and undergraduate students involved. Funding primarily from CPRC, with very major in-kind contributions from Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea (VENUS) and Ocean Networks Canada, Canadian Amphibious Search Team, RCMP, Canadian Coast Guard and Vancouver Aquarium Marine Sciences Centre. Research continuing with VENUS and Ocean Networks Canada.

Tranquil forest

Carrion Ecology in BC

Carrion ecology studies in a variety of habitats in BC including above ground, buried, in sun, shade and different seasons. Developed understanding of carrion/fauna interactions and relationships between faunal community and decompositional stage over time. For instance, this work has determined that burial and geography has more impact on carrion communities than season, different from that seen in southern N. America. As well, this work has shown that arrival times of many species on carcasses is much earlier than reported in literature from other temperate regions. Also, timing of dispersal from a carcass was shown to be much earlier than previously thought, which has major implications relating to effects of maggot masses. Burial with even the lightest covering greatly changes the species dynamics, facilitating Muscidae colonization over Calliphoridae. Ten publications, eleven academic conference presentations from this work and 2 graduate students involved.

National Database of
Insect Succession

Developing a country-wide database of insect succession on carrion across Canada. Research began in B.C. and was continued in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It is presently being conducted in Nova Scotia. Research being conducted by graduate students that I co-supervise with collaboration with various professors and universities. The protocol I developed in BC is being used in other Provinces and countries. Invited to speak on this subject at International Congress of Entomology, Italy in 1996 and Brazil, 2000. Primary funding from Canadian Police Research Centre, Manitoba Dept. of Justice. Several publications and presentations. This work has shown the specific differences in carrion communities between geographic regions and seasons. It is the first country-wide carrion ecology study. Two publications so far, but several in progress presently, five academic conference presentations and two graduate students completed and one writing up.

Animal brown horse

Saving Horses

Discovered causal agent of Culicoides Hypersensitivity in horses, a chronic, highly debilitating disease in horses worldwide. Determined causal protein common to many species of Culicoides (Diptera : Ceratopogonidae). Developed treatment regime and cure for disease. Identified putative causal protein. Six publications and six academic conference presentations including Invited to present a paper on research at International Workshop On Allergic Diseases Of The Horse, 20-22 April 1998, Lipica, SLOVENIA and Entomological Society of America, Annual Meeting,  1997. in Nashville, TENNESSEE.

Recent News

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Recent News


PhD Student Wins Award

Gail's PhD student, Steff King, was awarded the Simon Fraser University Graduate Dean's Entrance Scholarship (GDES). This funding will support their doctoral research on the adequacy of death investigations for MMIWG2 cases in North America. 



Masters Student Featured by University

Payten Smith shares her experience in the SFU Criminology Masters program. Link



New Text: Evidence and Investigations

From the Crime Scene to the Courtroom, 2nd Edition. 2019. Watkins, K., Anderson, G.S., Bulmer, W. and Rondinelli, V. 


Best of the WWEST

Special Podcast on the West Coast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology (WWEST) Podcast, Best of the WWEST.


Honours Student Featured by University

Payten Smith, an international wrestling champion and Criminology student, shares her experiences in the lab. Link


Overturned Wrongful Conviction Featured on the Conversation

Dr. Gail Anderson's uses entomological evidence to help set Kristin Lobato free.


Doctoral Student Wins Prestigious Award

Gail's Laboratory Manager, Vienna Lam, was named the top scoring recipient of the American Academy of Forensic Science (2019) Forensic Science Foundation and CRC Press Student Travel Award


Achievement in the Life Sciences Award

American Academy of Forensic Sciences Pathology and Biology Section Award for Achievement in the Life Sciences


SFU Profiled Professor

SFU “50 years of Research and Innovation at SFU” Profiled Professor, as an example of SFU's strategic vision to be Canada’s leading engaged university


1 of 6 Most Influential Researchers in BC

Listed as one of 6 most influential scientists in BC. Vancouver Sun.

Recent Publications

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Refereed Books

Anderson, G.S. 2020. Biological Influences on Criminal Behavior. 2nd Edition. Taylor Francis, CRC Press and Simon Fraser University Publications, Boca Raton, FL. 332 pp.


Watkins, K., Anderson, G.S., Bulmer, W. and Rondinelli, V. 2019. Evidence and Investigation: From the Crime Scene to the Courtroom. 2nd. Ed. Emond Montgomery Publications, Toronto.

Watkins, K., Anderson, G.S. and Rondinelli, V. 2012. Evidence and Investigation: From the Crime Scene to the Courtroom. Emond Montgomery Publications, Toronto. 450 pp.

Anderson, G.S. 2007. Biological Influences on Criminal Behavior. Taylor Francis, CRC Press and Simon Fraser University Publications, Boca Raton, FL. 315 pp.

Refereed Journal Articles

Smith, C., Poirier, L. and Anderson, G.S. The effect of season and urbanisation on Calliphoridae (Diptera) diversity in British Columbia, Canada, using  baited traps. The Canadian Entomologist 155(e24): 1–21. doi:10.4039/tce.2023.11.


Kotzé, Z., Aimar, S., Amendt, J., Anderson, G.S., Bourguignon, L., Hall, M.J.R. and Tomberlin, J.K. 2021. Recommendations for preparation of the forensic entomology case report. An international approach. Insects 12(4): 283-294.

Malainey, S.L. and Anderson, G.S. 2020.  Impact of confinement in vehicle trunks ondecomposition and entomological colonization of carcassess. PLoS ONE. 15(4): e0231207.


Stamper, T., Pharr, L., Anderson, G.S., Gonder, C., Dedmon, A., Kimsey, R. 2020. First observation of burnt vertebrate carrion scavenging by black-billed magpie (Pica hudsonia (Sabine)): potential significance in forensic investigation highlights the need to evaluate all possible vertebrate scavengers at a site. Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal 53(3): 95-108.

Malainey, S.L. and Anderson, G.S. 2020. Effect of Arson Fires on Survivability of Entomological Evidence on Carcasses inside Vehicle Trunks. Forensic Sci. Int. 306: 110033.

Mashaly, A., Sharaf, M.R., Al-Subeai, M., Al-Mekhlafi, F., Aldawood, A., and Anderson, G. 2018. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) attracted to rabbit carcasses in three different habitats. Sociobiology 65(3): 433-440.

Shaalan, E.A., El- Moaty, Z.A., Abdelsalam, S. and Anderson, G.S. 2017. A preliminary study of insect succession in Al-Ahsaa oasis, eastern region, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Journal of Forensic Science 62(1) 239-243. DOI:10.1111/1556-4029.13252


Warren, J.-A., Ratnasekera, T.D.P., Campbell, D.A. and Anderson, G.S. 2018. Hyperspectral measurements of immature Lucilia sericata (Meigen) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) raised on different food substrates. PloS ONE 13(2): e0192786. 10.1371/journal. pone.0192786

Warren, J.-A., Ratnasekera, T.D.P., Campbell, D.A. and Anderson, G.S. 2017. Initial investigations of spectral measurements to estimate the time within stages of Protophormia terraenovae (Robineau-Desvoidy) (Diptera: Calliphoridae). Forensic Sci. Int. 278: 205-216.

Anderson, G.S. and Bell, L.S. 2017. Comparison of faunal scavenging of submerged carrion in two seasons in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia. Insects 8:33 Anderson Invited,


Anderson, G.S. and Bell, L.S. 2016. Impact of marine submergence and season on faunal colonization and decomposition of pig carcasses in the Salish Sea. PLoS ONE. 11(3): e0149107. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149107


Anderson, G.S. and Bell, L.S. 2014. Deep Coastal Marine Taphonomy: Investigation into Carcass Decomposition in the Saanich Inlet, British Columbia using a Baited Camera. PLoS ONE. 9(10): e110710. doi:10.1371/journal.pone. 01 10710.  

Warren, J.-A., Ratnasekera, T.D.P., Campbell, D.A. and Anderson, G.S. 2017. Spectral signatures of immature Lucilia sericata (Meigen) (Diptera: Calliphoridae). 8: Insects, Warren Invited.


Reisdorf, A., Klug, C., Anderson, G.S., Bell, L.S., Schmidt-Rohl, A., Rohl, J., Jung, M., Maisch, M.W., Wuttke, M., Benecke, M., Wyler, D., Bux, R., Fornaro, P., Wetzel, A. 2014. Reply to "Ichthyosaur embryos outside the mother body: not due to carcass explosion but to carcass implosion" by van Loon (2013). Palaeobio. Palaecoenv. Online May 2014.


Warren, J.A. and Anderson, G.S. 2013. The development of Protophormia terraenovae (R-D) at constant temperatures and its minimum temperature threshold. Forensic Sci. Int. 233(1), 374-379.


Warren, J.A. and Anderson, G.S. 2013. Effect of fluctuating temperatures on the development of a forensically important blow fly Protophormia terraenovae (Diptera:Calliphoridae).  Environ. Entomol. :42(1), 167-172.


Kelly, J.A., van der Linde, T.C. and Anderson, G.S. 2011. The Influence of wounds, severe trauma and clothing on carcass decomposition and arthropod succession in South Africa. Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal 44(4): 144-157.


Desmoulin, G. and Anderson, G.S. 2011. A case study of contusion mechanics in a living individual. Journal of Forensic Biomechanics, 2:1-10.


Stuyt, M., Ursic-Bedoya, R., Cooper, D., Huitson, N. Anderson, G.S. and Lowenberger, C. 2010.  Identification of host material from crops and whole bodies of Protophormia terraenovae (Diptera) larvae, pupae, and adults, and the implications for forensic studies. Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal. 43(3): 97-107.

Anderson, G.S. 2010. Comparison of decomposition rates and faunal colonization of carrion in indoor and outdoor environments. Journal of Forensic Science 56(1): 136-142.

Valdes-Perezgasga, M.T., Sanchez-Ramos, F.J. Garcia-Martinez, O. and Anderson, G.S. 2010. Arthropods of Forensic Importance on Pig Carrion in the Coahuilan Semidesert, Mexico. J. Forensic Sci. 55: 1098-1101


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CRIM 355: Forensic Science I

Examines the use and interpretation of physical forensic evidence in court. It will critically examine and evaluate the major forensic sciences used in criminal investigations today, as well as look at the crime scene. Subjects examined will include forensic pathology, odontology, biology, DNA evidence, firearms evidence, toxicology chemistry and questioned documents. Techniques will be illustrated with case studies. Prerequisite: 45 units. Breadth-Social Sciences.

CRIM 358: Forensic Entomology

A critical analysis of specific areas of criminology or criminal justice. The subjects covered will change from term to term depending on the specific interests of faculty, or students and current issues in criminology. Prerequisite: CRIM 101.

CRIM 402: Biological Explanations for Crime

This course will examine possible biological factors that could result in a predisposition towards criminal behavior. These include not only the genetic factors that affect behaviour and therefore, could potentially predispose towards crime, but also biochemical, neurological, nutritive and accidental effects, such as head injuries. This course will look critically at all evidence both for and against any possible biological predisposition’s for criminogenic behaviours, together with the interaction with the environment. In particular, moral and ethical issues will be considered and debated.

CRIM 451: Advanced Techniques in Forensic Science

Looks at the advanced and sometimes more controversial areas of forensic science used in the criminal justice system today. Most areas are those outside the crime lab and require extensive and in-depth training in a very focused field. Seminars may cover areas such as the use of polygraph, blood spatter pattern analysis, entomology, pathology, odontology, anthropology, genocide investigation, facial approximation, crime scene analysis on land, underwater and mass homicide scenarios. Prerequisite: CRIM 101. Recommended: CRIM 355. Students with credit for CRIM 420 in 01-3, 00-3, 99-3, 98-3 or 97-3 may not take this course for further credit.

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Vienna Lam

PhD Student

Laboratory Manager


Steff King

PhD Student

Laboratory Co-Supervisor


Payten Smith

MA Student
Laboratory Co-Supervisor

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Samantha DeVries

Kayon Davis

Soraya Janus

PhD Student

PhD Student

PhD Student

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Emily Bozanich

Taylor Dube-Mather

Cassie Pacholski

MA Student

MA Student

MA Student

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Cass Chowdhury

MA Student




Simon Fraser University

8888 University Drive

Burnaby, BC, Canada, v5a 1s6

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