Gerhard Gries

Gerhard Gries

Department of Biological Sciences
Simon Fraser University

Chair title

NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Insect Communication Ecology

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Senior Chairholder since 2004


Public concern over continued and growing use of toxic pesticides has prompted regulatory agencies to begin to eliminate these pesticides. Yet, pest insects continue their assault on food, fibre, and people, severely affecting our health and natural resource-based economy. Improved pest control methods and alternatives to chemical pesticides are urgently needed.

This Chair program is about some of those alternatives: insect semiochemical and sonic communication signals. The Chair program investigates complex, multi-modal communication signals in insects, requiring expertise in the acquisition, analysis and reproduction of sonic signals, and in the capture, analysis and syntheses of semiochemicals (message bearing chemicals). Short-term objectives are to elucidate semiochemical and sonic signals in intra- and interspecific as well as intertrophic communication systems. Long-term objectives are to explore the potential of newly acquired knowledge for innovative insect control. The program is curiosity-driven and benefits society because basic and applied research objectives are linked. The discovery of new semiochemicals or sonic signals will allow industrial sponsors to expand their product line, and engage in the development of new earth-friendly tactics for target-specific pest control, thereby:
  • improving human health through reduced exposure to toxic insecticides;
  • improving food quality through elimination of insecticide residues;
  • increasing crop yield and grade through reduced pest impact;
  • reducing costs for pest control through integrated tactics; and
  • preserving biodiversity through conservation of beneficial insects and exclusion of exotic pests.
All target insects in this Chair program have a devastating impact on agriculture, forestry, tree fruit production and human health.


  • Phero Tech Inc.
  • SC Johnson and Son
  • Global Forest Science

Contact information

Department of Biological Sciences
Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia
V5A 1S6

Tel.: 604-291-4475, ext. 4392
Fax: 604-291-3496


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