B.Sc.University of Victoria (1994)
Ph.D. University of Alberta (2000) (in the Palmer lab)
Postdoc. University of Texas at Austin

Christopher B. Cameron

Professor agrégé, Départment de sciences biologiques Professeur associé, Programme de muséologie

Postal Address:

Courier Address



Université de Montréal, Départment de sciences biologiques, Pavillion Marie-Victorin, C.P. 6128, Succ. Centre-ville, Montréal, QC, Canada, H3C 3J7

Université de Montréal, Départment de sciences biologiques, Pavillion Marie-Victorin, 90 Vincent d'Indy Ave., Room F-208-8, Montréal, QC, Canada, H2V 2S9

1 (514) 343-2198
1 (514) 343-2293
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| Research | Publications | Research Opportunities |  Students |

| Hemichordata Images | Checklist of Hemichordate Species |

| Taxonomic Key to the Enteropneusta | Links |

"All things are one thing - plankton, a shimmering phosphorescence on the sea and the spinning planets and an expanding universe, all bound together by the elastic string of time. It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again."

John Steinbeck on Ed Ricketts philosophy. From "The Log from the Sea of Cortez"

Current Research

Research in the Cameron lab aims to understand the origin and evolution of animal body plan diversity. Aquatic environments, and especially the oceans, are home to the bulk of global animal diversity, and nowhere are body plans more divergent than among the invertebrates. This biodiversity is a result of the interplay between evolution, development and ecology. For this reason our research program uses a multidisciplinary approach including organismal and molecular biology, development, phylogenetics, informatics, fluid mechanics, taxonomy and paleontology. We are broadly interesed in the evolution of animal biodiversity, and the deuterostomes, that evolutionary linage that includes hemichordates, echinoderms and our own phylum, the chordates, is where we make our greatest contributions.

Origin and Evolution of Deuterostomes

Presently there are three multidisciplinary research areas where we are evaluating the hypothesis of an enteropneust worm-like basal deuterostome. First, we are characterizing the mineral elements and proteins that comprise skeletal ossicles in hemichordates and echinoderms. As an extention to this study we are characterizing ossicle development of the crinoid, Florometra serratissima. Second, the hemichordate pterobranchs, with their unique tentacular feeding arms may represent a derived condition from a pharyngeal filter-feeding ancestor. The evolutionary pressure for such modification may relate to fluid mechanics in relation to organismal size (pterobranchs are small organisms). We are characterizing flow through hemichordate pharynges using Particle Imaging Velocimetry (PIV) and Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) modeling. This work is in collaboration with fluid engineering colleagues at the École Polytechnique. Third, we are describing enteropneust fossils from the Burgess Shale of Canada. These studies have pushed back the fossil record for enteropneusts over 200 million years, and have provided a glimpse into the transition from the solitary enteropneust worms to the colonial, tube dwelling pterobranchs.

Biodiversity, Phylogeny and Conservation of Hemichordates

The second major research axis of our group is to discover and describe new species of Hemichordata. We are revising the taxonomy of the phylum and we have more than doubled the number of described species along the coasts of North America. Observations on their biogeography suggest that the hemichordates are an ancient and declining group, and that species loss in coastal waters has accelerated due to human activities. Parallel studies from Nick Hollands lab at Scripps, have demonstrated that many species are yet to be discovered from the largest habitat on earth, the deep sea. Finally, we construct phylogenetic trees of the hemichordates using morphological and molecular data.

Our research has been widely covered in the international press and links to the most recent articles are embedded below. For francophones, a brief overview of our reseach program can be read in Découvrir. If you are interested in pursing graduate studies or a postdoc in the Cameron lab, or just looking for more detailed information, please write.


Selected publications are hot-linked to PDF's. To respect copyrights please notify me when you download.


Biologie 2431: Zoologie des invertébrés

Biologie 6027: Séminaires en systématique et évolution

Biolo 6965 Biodiversité: importance, menaces, solutions

Biologie 3XXX: Évolution et développement (à venir en Sept. 2014)

Evolution and development of marine organisms, Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (taught with Dr. C. Bishop, St. Francis Xavier Univ.)

WWW Links

| Marine Science | Invertebrate Biology | Phylogenetic Tools | Societies |

| Marine Environmental Groups | Non-Corporate Media | Science Humour |

Université de Montréal Home Page
Départment de Sciences Biologiques Home Page

All text and images accessible via the above links copyright © 2000 - 2013 by C. B. Cameron. All rights reserved.
(revised March, 2013)