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

Associate professor, Départment de sciences biologiques

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
. . . . . twitter

| 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 invertebrate animals. This biodiversity is largely a result of the interplay between evolution, development and the fluid environment. For this reason our research program uses a multidisciplinary approach including organismal and molecular biology, development, phylogenetics, transcriptomics, fluid mechanics and paleontology. We are broadly interesed in the origins and 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 & 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 hemichordate worms and echinoderms. This work is in collaboration with the Oliveri lab (Univ. College London). Second, we are describing hemichordate fossils from the Burgess Shale of Canada (see the video in this CTV story). These studies, conducted in collaboration with the Caron lab (Royal Ontario Museum) and the Conway-Morris lab (Univ. Cambridge), 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. Third, in a cladistic analysis of morphological data we clarified the relationship among the tube-building modern pterobranchs and major graptolite representatives, and showed that Rhabdopleura is a living graptolite. In collaboration with the Piraino lab (Univ. del Salento), we are now conducting a taphonomic decay experiment on zooids, tubes and stolons of Rhabdopleura to understand the temporal sequence of morphological decay and loss of graptolite characters.

Discovering Hemichordate Biodiversity

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 Holland (Scripps Institute of Oceanography), Karen Osborn (Smithsonian Institution) and Ken Halanych (Auburn Univ.) have demonstrated that many species are yet to be discovered from the largest habitat on earth, the deep sea.

Fluid Biomechanics & Animal Body Plan Evolution

We are characterizing the interaction of animal body plans with the fluid enviroment using particle imaging velocimetry (PIV), finite element methods (FEM), computational fluid dynamic (CFD) and X-ray tomography. The CFD is in collaboration with the fluid dynamic research group (École Polytechnique) and the 3D constructions in collaboration with the Rahman lab (Univ. Bristol). Unlike most selective forces, the physical forces of fluid mechanics can be precisely quantified. In some cases, changing this pressure results in drastically divergent phenotypes. Using transcriptomics, we are characterizing the changes in gene expression during this alteration in developmental patterning. Ultimately we aim to tighlty couple the selective force of fluid mechanics with developmental repatterning to shed light on animal body plan evolution. The development of transcriptomes is in collaboration with the Lowe lab (Stanford Univ.) and the Telford lab (Univ. College London).

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

Biologie 6965 Biodiversité: importance, menaces, solutions

Biologie 3293: Évolution et développement

WWW Links

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

| Marine Environmental Groups | Science Humour |


Université de Montréal Home Page
Départment de Sciences Biologiques Home Page

All text and images accessible via the above links copyright © 2000 - 2015 by C. B. Cameron. All rights reserved.
(revised April., 2015)