ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR - UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
RICHARD M. IVEY CURATOR OF INVERTEBRATE PALAEONTOLGY
ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM
B.Sc., Earth and Life Sciences, University Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, France, 1997
M.Sc., Earth Sciences, University Claude-Bernard,
Lyon, France, 1999
Ph.D., Zoology, University of Toronto, Canada, 2005
A profound curiosity about fossils during his childhood led Jean-Bernard Caron to collect and curate his own personal fossil collection in his native France. By the age of 10, he knew he wanted to become a professional palaeontologist. As a teenager, he often joined various professional field crews across Europe for summer field expeditions collecting fossils, and the experience gained as a volunteer field assistant led to an invitation from Desmond Collins, then Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology at the ROM, to join his field crew at the famous Burgess Shale fossil deposit in British Columbia in 1998. This was Jean-Bernard's first visit to Canada, and he returned to the Burgess Shale as a ROM volunteer for the following two summer field seasons.
Jean-Bernard's Master's thesis dealt with Banffia constricta, one of the most bizarre animals known from the Burgess Shale. This study was followed by a PhD on the taphonomy and paleoecology of the Burgess Shale community. By the end of his PhD project, Jean-Bernard had examined about half the Burgess Shale specimens (more than 70,000 fossils) stored at the ROM, which houses over 150,000 specimens, representing the world’s largest collection of its kind.
After being awarded a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council post-doctoral fellowship (Government of Canada), he joined the ROM as Associate Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology in early 2006, thus finally fulfilling his long-standing childhood dream
At present, his main responsibilities are to curate and interpret fossils from the very large ROM Burgess Shale collection as well as to continue fieldwork activities. The ROM collection represents a real Pandora’s Box for science, with many new organisms still to be described. He also studies fossils from other Burgess Shale-type deposits, particularly in China.
At the end of 2010, Jean-Bernard launched the "Virtual Museum of Canada website on the Burgess Shale", a joint effort between the ROM and Parks Canada. This bilingual website received over 65.000 visitors in 2012.
Dr. Caron has published in the famous research journals Nature and Science. He is affiliated with the Geology and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Toronto and holds a NSERC Discovery Grant.