An international conference on the Cambrian explosion is in progress now in Banff, Alberta. Walcott 2009 was initiated to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the Burgess Shale by Charles Doolittle Walcott. The conference, running from August 3 to 8, will explore the amazing organismal, ecological and environmental changes that occurred during the Precambrian-Cambrian transition, otherwise known as the Cambrian Explosion.
Abstracts of all the presentations can be found here, while the remaining publically accessable keynote speakers are listed below:
- Junyuan Chen, The Deep Root of Modern Animal Diversity 5 August, 2009 – 13:30.
- Desmond Collins, The Burgess Shale Faunal Complex 5 August, 2009 – 14:30.
- Douglas H. Erwin, The Cambrian Explosion: Developmental Potential and Ecological Opportunity, 5 August, 2009 – 17:30.
- Nicholas J.Thomas and H. P.Butterfield Harvey, Micro-Burgess Shales 5 August, 2009 – 20:00.
- Derek E. G.Briggs, Preservation of Burgess Shale Fossils 6 August, 2009 – 13:30.
- Simon Conway Morris, Burgess Shale-Type Faunas and the Origin of Animal Bodyplans: Continuing Confusion? 6 August, 2009 – 18:00.
The meetings are held at the Banff Centre, from August 4–6th, 2009. Banff, located about 125 km west of Calgary, Alberta, is one of the most scenic spots in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and is only 80 km away from the discovery site of the Burgess Shale (near Field, British Columbia).
The image above shows Charles Doolittle Walcott (1850-1927), Sidney Stevens Walcott (1892-1977), and Helen Breese Walcott (1894-1965) working at the Burgess Shale. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)