Michael Noonan


BS (Biology) University of Notre Dame
PhD (Behavioral Neuroscience) State Univ of New York at Buffalo

noonan@canisius.edu 2772 Office: HS 203A

Dr Michael Noonan teaches courses that focus on how evolution has shaped behavior, and on the physiological mechanisms that underlie behavior. Dr Noonan also directs the Canisius Ambassadors for Conservation, an environmental education program targeted to school children and to members of the public at zoos and wildlife refuges, and to a wider audience via video and web content. His research focuses on the cognitive and social nature of marine mammals held in seaquaria. Recent discoveries include evidence of numerical competence in bottlenose dolphins, unusual male-male alliances in beluga whales, and culturally transmitted gull-baiting techniques in killer whales.


  • Peter Canisius Distinguished Professor 1999
  • Kenneth L Koessler Distinguished Faculty 2003
  • Animal Behavior Society Distinguished Teacher 2006


Noonan, M. (2007) Killer Whales and Humans. In the Encyclopedia of Human Animal Relationships, Marc Bekoff (Ed), Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Graham, M. & Noonan, M. Acoustic Features and call types associated with aggressive interactions in the killer whale (Orcinus orca). Aquatic Mammals, 2010, 36, 9-18.

Glabicky, N., DuBrava, A. & Noonan, M. Social–sexual behavior seasonality in captive beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas). Polar Biology, 2010, 33, 1145-1147.

Noonan, M. On the behavior and welfare of killer whales in captivity. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 2013, 16, 394-394.

George, E. M. & Noonan, M. Respiration Rates in Captive Beluga Whales (Delphinapterus leucas): Effects of Season, Sex, Age, and Body Size. Aquatic Mammals, 2014, 40(4), 350-356.