Dr. Jean Boal

Professor, Animal Behavior and Marine Biology.

Dr. Jean Boal

Contact Information


profile picEducation:

B.S., Stanford University
Ph.D., University of North Carolina

Courses Taught:

BIOL 100 – General Biology
BIOL 281 – Behavioral Biology
BIOL 291 – Marine Biology
BIOL 390 – The Natural History of the Mid-Atlantic Shore
BIOL 471 – Topics in Biology
BIOL 472 – Seminar in Biology
BIOL 485/685 – Animal Behavior

Areas of Specialization:

Animal Behavior and Marine Biology.

Research Interest(s):

I am interested in the evolution of cognitive behavior from a functional perspective. I am particularly interested in the relationship between an animal's learning abilities and its ecology and life history. My research focused primarily on cephalopods (octopuses, cuttlefish, and squids) because they have
large, complex brains compared to other invertebrates but we do not yet know why. Students participated actively in research with me at Millersville University and at marine laboratories in Massachusetts and France. 

Selected Publication(s): (*student)

Buresch KC, Sklar* K, Chen* JY, Madden* SR, Mongil* AS, Wise* GV. Boal JG, Hanlon RT. 2022. Contact chemoreception in multi-modal sensing of prey by Octopus. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 208:435-422. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00359-022-01549-y

Iglesias TL, Boal JG, Frank MG, Jochen Z, Hanlon RT. 2019. Cyclic nature of the REM sleep-like state in the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis. Journal of Experimental Biology 222(1), jeb174862. doi:10.1242/jeb.174862.

Hough* AR, Case J, Boal JG. 2016. Learned control of body patterning in cuttlefish Sepia officinalis (Cephalopoda). Journal of Molluscan Studies 82(3): 427-431. doi: 10.1093/mollus/eyw006.

Jozet-Alves C, Darmaillacq A-S, Boal JG. 2014. Navigation in cephalopods. In: Cephalopod Cognition. (A-S Darmaillacq, L Dickel, & J Mather, eds.) Cambridge University Press.

Hough, Alexander Ryan Hough. Faculty Mentor: Jean Geary Boal. 2014. Automation of Discrimination Training for Cuttlefish (Mollusca: Cephalopoda). Keystone Journal of Undergraduate Research 2(1): 15-21.

Jozet-Alves C, Darmaillacq A-S, Boal JG. In press. Navigation in cephalopods. In: Cephalopod Cognition. (A-S Darmaillacq, ed.)

Frank M, Waldrop* R.H., Dumoulin* M, Aton* SJ, Boal JG. 2012. A Preliminary Analysis of Sleep-Like States in the Cuttlefish Sepia officinalis. PLoS ONE 7(6): e38125. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038125

Boal JG. 2011. Behavioral research methods for working with octopuses and cuttlefishes. Vie et Milieu 61: 203-210.

Walderon* MD, Nolt* K, Haas* RE, Prosser* KN, Holm* JB, Nagle GT, Boal JG. 2011. Distance chemoreception and the detection of conspecifics in Octopus bimaculoides. Journal of Molluscan Studies 77: 309-311. doi: 10.1093/mollus/eyr009.

Cummins SF, Boal JG, Buresch KC, Kuanpradit C, Sobhon P, Holm* JB, Degnan BM, Nagle GT, Hanlon RT. 2011. Extreme aggression in male squid induced by a ß-microseminoprotein-like pheromone. Current Biology 21(4): 322-327. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.01.038.

Guibé* M, Boal JG, Dickel L.  2010. Early exposure to odors changes later visual prey preferences in cuttlefish. Journal of Developmental Psychobiology 1 Jun 2010 online in advance of print. DOI 10.1002/dev.20470.

Boal JG, Prosser* KN, Holm* JB, Simmons* TL, Haas* RE, Nagle GT. 2010. Sexually mature cuttlefish are attracted to the eggs of conspecifics. Journal of Chemical Ecology 36(8):834-836  DOI 10.1007/s10886-010-9816-0.

Alves* C, Boal JG, Dickel L. 2008. Short-distance navigation in cephalopods: a review. Cognitive Processing 9(4):239-247. DOI 10.1007/s10339-007-0192-9.

Hvorecny* LM, Grudowski* JL, Blakeslee* CJ, Simmons* TL, Roy* PR, Brooks* JA, Hanner* RM, Beigel* ME, Karson MA, Nichols* RH, Holm* JB, Boal JG. 2007. Octopuses (Octopus bimaculoides) and cuttlefishes (Sepia pharaonis, S. officinalis) can conditionally discriminate. Animal Cognition 10(4): 449-459. DOI 10.1007/s10071-007-0085-4.

Sigg* JE, Lloyd-Knight* KM, Boal JG. 2007. UV Light Influences covering behavior in the urchin Lytechinus variegatus. Journal of the Marine Biological Association 87: 1257-1261. DOI 10.1017/@0025315407055865.

Boal JG, Fenwick JW. 2007. Laterality in Octopus Eye Use?  Animal Behaviour Forum 74(3):e1-e2. DOI.1016/j.anbehav.2006.12.026.

Beigel*, M, & Boal, J. 2006. The effect of habitat enrichment on the mudflat octopus. The Shape of Enrichment 15(1): 3-6.

Boal, J.G. 2006. Social Recognition: a top down view of cephalopod behavior. Vie et Milieu 56(2): 69-79.

Alves*, C., R. Chichery, J.G. Boal, L. Dickel. 2006. Orientation in the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis : response versus place learning. Animal Cognition [Epub ahead of print].

Komak*, S., L. Dickel, J.G. Boal, B.U. Budelmann. 2005. Behavioral responses of juvenile cuttlefish Sepia officinalis to local water movements. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology 38(2): 117-125.

Boal, J.G., N. Shashar, M. Grable*, K. Vaughan*, E. Loew & R. Hanlon . 2004. Behavioral evidence for intraspecific signals with achromatic and polarized light by cuttlefish (Mollusca: Cephalopoda). Behaviour 141: 837-861.

Buresch, K.C., J.G. Boal, G.T. Nagle, J. Knowles*, R. Nobuhara, K. Sweeney* & R.T Hanlon. 2004. Experimental evidence that ovary and oviducal gland extracts influence male agonistic behavior in squids. Biological Bulletin 206: 1-3.

Karson*, M.A., Boal, J.G. and R.T. Hanlon. 2003. Experimental evidence for spatial learning in cuttlefish ( Sepia officinalis ). Journal of Comparative Psychology 117(2): 149-155.

Buresch, K.C., J.G. Boal, J. Knowles*, J. DeBose*, A. Nichols*(MU), A. Erwin*, S.D. Painter, G.T. Nagle & R.T. Hanlon. 2003. Contact chemosensory cues in egg bundles elicit male-male agonistic conflicts in the squid Loligo pealei (Mollusca: Cephalopoda). Journal of Chemical Ecology. Vol 29(3): 547-560.

Boal, J.G., Wittenberg*, K.M., & R.T. Hanlon. 2000. Observational Learning Does Not Explain Improvement in Predation Tactics by Cuttlefish (Mollusca: Cephalopoda). Behavioural Processes 52: 141-153.

Boal, J.G., A. Dunham*, K. Williams*, & R.T. Hanlon. 2000. Experimental evidence for spatial learning in octopuses. Journal of Comparative Psychology 114: 246-252.

Dickel, L, J.G. Boal & B.U. Budelmann. 2000. Effect of early experience on learning and memory in cuttlefish. Developmental Psychobiology 36: 101-110.

Shashar, N., R. Hagan*, J.G. Boal & R.T. Hanlon. 2000. Cuttlefish use polarization sensitivity in predation on silvery fish. Vision Research 40(1):71-75.

Boal, J.G. & D.K. Golden*. 1999. Distance chemoreception in the common cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis (Mollusca: Cephalopoda). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 235:307-317.

Boal, J.G., R. Hylton*, S.A. Gonzalez* & R.T. Hanlon. 1999. Effects of crowding on the social behavior of cuttlefish ( Sepia officinalis ). Contemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science 38:49-55.

Boal, J.G. & S. Marsh*. 1999. Social recognition using chemical cues in Sepia officinalis (Mollusca: Cephalopoda). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 230:783-792 .

Boal, J.G. & S.A. Gonzalez*. 1998. The social behavior of individual oval squids ( Sepioteuthis lessoniana ) within a captive school. Ethology 104:161-178.

Boal, J.G. 1997. Female choice of males in cuttlefish (Mollusca: Cephalopoda). Behaviour 134:975-988.

Boal, J.G. 1996. Absence of social recognition in laboratory-reared cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis , L. (Mollusca: Cephalopoda). Animal Behavior 52(3): 529-537.

Boal, J.G. & J.N. Ni*. 1996. Ventilation rate of cuttlefish in response to visual stimuli. Veliger 39(4):342-347.

Boal, J.G. 1996. A review of simultaneous visual discrimination as a method of training octopuses. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 71:157-190.

Boal, J. 1991. Complex learning in Octopus bimaculoides . American Malacological Bulletin 9(1):75-80.

Boal, J. 1980. Pacific harbor seal ( Phoca vitulina richardii). Haul out impact on the rocky midtidal zone. Marine Ecology Progress Series 2(4):265-269.