My research focuses primarily on the study of the first complex marine communities from the period just following the Early Cambrian. The Cambrian explosion represents the sudden worldwide appearance and rapid diversification of most major animal groups, starting about 540 million years ago. The record of this critical event is preserved in a series of exceptional fossil deposits, especially in China and Canada, of which the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale (a UNESCO World Heritage site in British Columbia) is certainly the most famous. My research is currently oriented in three main complementary areas: 1) to elucidate the ecology and affinities of dozens of specific fossil taxa in order to shed crucial light on: a) the origin and relationship of major animal body plans and, b) the acquisition of functional novelties during the Cambrian explosion; 2) to better understand the interaction between environmental signals and community composition in Cambrian biota; 3) to better understand community patterns at varying temporal and spatial scales, especially between sites from different paleogeographic and paleoecologic settings.
Links to Jean-Bernard Caron at the ROM:
Link to Jean-Bernard Caron at the Department of Earth Sciences (University of Toronto): http://www.es.utoronto.ca/people/cross-appt-faculty/caron/