The 2011 CSEE Annual Meeting logo.

The logo you see on this page was produced for the sixth annual meeting of the Canadian Society for Ecology, held in the summer of 2011 at the Banff Centre. I was asked to generate a logo that would represent the ecology of and the long history of research in the Canadian Rockies and look good on a tote bag, particularly when presented to scientists from all over Canada with pocket money to spend. The organizing committee and I talked it over, and concluded that the coolest thing in the Canadian Rockies is probably the Burgess Shale, so I went away to design.

Due to an interesting coincidence, not only did I have access to a SkyScanner 1173 micro CT scanner - a device used by researchers at the University of Calgary to generate 3D models of fossils without actually needing to remove them from the rocks they're in, but I was headed to Drumheller, Alberta to visit the research collections at the Extremely Cool Museum they have there, where they have ... oddly enough ... a reasonable assortment of material from the Burgess. (Fair warning: It takes a fair bit of doing to get access to the research collections at most museums, to say nothing of the ones at an internationally-famous museum. Don't try this at home.)

So while I was down in Drumheller, I took advantage of my trip to take a look through what they had in terms of Burgess material, and found a very nice example of Marrella splendens, the most common fossil you find out there in Yoho. With permission from the curators, I took the Marrella back to Calgary, put in the CT scanner, and eventually got a very very nice little 3D model of a very very flat smear of a tiny Cambrian bug (Note that I didn't say insect. It isn't an insect. But, as far as I'm concerned, it's a bug. "Bug" is not a legitimate taxonomic term. So there.) Not exactly what I was hoping for ... but it was detailed enough for me get reasonably accurate proportions and masses, if not the precise shape, of an actual, specific, 500-million-year-old arthropod ... which I then used to build a slightly more useful model in my 3D program, which I then used to render an image, which I then used in the logo below.

It may not be the best logo. It may not be quite on the level of Saul Bass's best. But ... at the very least ... not a single Canadian biologist came up to me during the meeting and said "You know, Marrella has more legs than that..."

... and that's something that, if nothing else, I can be proud of.