The Wildlife Analytics Lab is a new research initiative from the Centre for Technology, Environment, and Design at Lethbridge College offering fee-for-service cementum analysis of wildlife teeth. Cementum analysis is a technique that involves analyzing the layers of cementum (mineralized tissue that surrounds the roots of teeth) that form distinct annuli (rings) as animals age.
By interpreting cementum layers in combination with an understanding of other characteristics, such as species-specific tooth eruption phenology, analysts can determine the age, reproductive history, and even migratory patterns of wildlife species. This highly sought-after information is used to inform and support wildlife management and conservation initiatives across the world. In addition to this made-in-Alberta solution for wildlife aging, the Wildlife Analytics Lab is also creating training, research, and employment opportunities for current students, aligning with the Work Integrated Learning initiatives at post-secondary institutions in Alberta, along with collaborative research opportunities for other staff and faculty.
Work with us
As the first Canadian laboratory to provide wildlife cementum analysis, the Wildlife Analytics Lab works with agencies and researchers across the country to inform and improve wildlife conservation and management, including epidemiology studies (such as chronic wasting disease) and harvest-allocations for game species. While widely used tooth replacement and wear techniques can provide an age-class estimate for younger animals, cementum analysis is proven to be the most accurate method for aging teeth.
While tooth-only samples are preferred, the lab can extract teeth from incisor bars or complete mandibles/skulls on site for an additional fee. The Lab only offers services for wildlife teeth (no domestic animals) that were obtained legally in accordance with local and federal laws. By placing an order or a request for service, you are acknowledging that all applicable laws and regulations governing the collection of wildlife parts were adhered to. For more information, you can visit the Government of Alberta Fish and Wildlife Regulations, Parks Canada Visitor Guidelines (see Natural and Historic Guidelines), or contact your local fish and wildlife authority. The full Terms and Conditions for submitting wildlife teeth to the lab can be viewed here.
If you are a biologist, researcher or agency looking to have wildlife teeth aged, please fill out this form to receive a quote.
If you are a hunter, outfitter, or other individual who would like to have wildlife teeth aged, click here to create an account, and place an order under “Merchandise Products”.
- Step-by-step instructions to create and account and make a purchase can be found here.
- Once you have purchased a Cementum Analysis service, complete this online form (this can also be found on your LC Extension Account) or print and send this form in with your samples. Your transaction ID will be on the purchase receipt.
- Ship us your samples! See our Tooth Extraction Guide for more information on which tooth to send us and how to package for shipping. Don’t have small envelopes? Download our printable envelopes here. All shipments should be addressed to:
Wildlife Analytics Lab
3000 College Drive South
Lethbridge Alberta Canada
- Results will be sent to the account holders e-mail within the timeframes listed below.
The work being conducted by the Wildlife Analytics Lab directly benefits students and the institution. Students in the Renewable Resources Management, Natural Resource Compliance, and BSc in Ecosystem Management learn cutting edge technology that is directly related to wildlife management in Alberta and across the world. Opportunities for collaborative student projects are always of interest to the lab as we seek to involve and train students at every step of the process. Moreover, the lab employs students on a part-time basis, as dictated by demand. This type of paid experience satisfies the modern movement towards Work Integrated Learning, ensuring the training and education being offered at Lethbridge College are best positioning graduates for meaningful employment in the field. Student Work Integrated Learning opportunities are so important to the Wildlife Analytics Lab that we offer price incentives to clients who are willing to enter into data sharing agreements with student researchers. Get in touch if you are interested in supporting student-led research!
What we do
The Wildlife Analytics Lab will provide tooth extraction services, for an additional fee, when full jaws (mandibles) are submitted. This will include the removal of the preferred tooth type (based on species) and subsequent cleaning of the teeth.
Samples received by the Wildlife Analytics Lab are processed by trained technicians using proven methods and state-of-the-art technology. Teeth are cleaned, decalcified, and embedded in wax before being thinly sliced with a microtome. These slices are then mounted to a slide and stained to show the cementum annuli layers.
Our stained sections are analyzed by scientists trained in cementum analysis. As an interpretive science, accurate cementum analysis requires more than simply counting annuli. Species-specific tooth eruption phenology, seasonal variation in nutrition, and harvest schedules for game species are just some of the factors considered when analysts assign an age to a tooth.
When you have your samples analyzed at the Wildlife Analytics Lab you can expect to receive a professional report outlining your results. Based on the level of analysis requested, reports can include the age of the samples analyzed, digital images of the stained cementum annuli, and a basic or comprehensive data analysis report. Contact us for more information and pricing on the package to best suit your needs.
Samples submitted by hunters, outfitters, or other individuals will have results provided within the following timelines:
- Samples received by the Lab between September 1st and January 15th of the current hunting season will have results returned on or before the following February 15th.
- Samples received between January 15th and March 15th will have results returned on or before April 15th of the same year.
- Samples received after March 15th but before September 1st will have results returned within 30 days.
Every reasonable effort will be made to return results as soon as possible. Should results be available prior to the above dates, you will be notified. If you have submitted a sample but haven’t received results within these timelines, contact us with your name, email address, and a brief description of your submission.
Who we are
Dr. Everett Hanna, PBiol, RPBio, CWB®, Scientific Lead
Dr. Hanna has more than 15 years’ experience in wildlife research and conservation as an academic and consulting wildlife biologist. Everett holds two diplomas (applied fish and wildlife biology), an honours Bachelor of Science degree (biology), and a PhD (ecology and evolution). He has been working with cementum analysis for over 20 years, starting as an undergraduate student in fish and wildlife management. More recently, Everett has been developing tooth aging techniques at Lethbridge College that evolved into the Wildlife Analytics Labs’ establishment. Everett is lead on lab operations, including client relations, sample analysis, quality assurance/control, data analysis, and dissemination of results.
Rhys Hakstol, M.Sc., Lab Manager
Mr. Hakstol brings more than five years’ experience working in the field of applied chemistry. Rhys has a Master of Science Degree in Biochemistry. Currently, as an Instructor and the Chemistry Lab Technician III with Lethbridge College’s School of Environmental Sciences (SES), he teaches and supports learning in applied chemistry. Rhys manages the chemical elements of lab operations.
Jonathan Friesen, Logistics Manager
Mr. Friesen brings 15 years’ experience in supporting various wildlife education/research projects. Jonathan has a Technical Diploma in Fish and Wildlife Conservation and Management, and currently works as the Equipment Room Manager for Lethbridge College’s SES. Jonathan oversees all purchasing, inventory management, contracts, and other client communication for the lab.
Kelsey Gourlie, B.Sc., Lab Technician
Mrs. Gourlie brings one year of experience working in the field of environmental science, including research and laboratory experience. Kelsey has a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Environmental Science. During her time as an undergraduate, Kelsey completed independent research and sufficient Work Integrated Learning to earn a Cooperative Education designation. Kelsey is the dedicated Wildlife Analytics Lab Technician where she oversees student employees, sample processing, method calibration, and data collection and analysis.