Marc Laflamme

Marc Laflamme

Ph.D. | Professor | Earth Science | Paleoclimate and Paleontology

Research Areas:

Laflamme Research

Ediacaran Geobiology and Soft-Tissue Fossilization

Research Profile:

My interests lie in the classification and preservation of the Ediacara biota,the oldest large and complex organisms in the rock record. These globally-distributed soft-bodied organisms abruptly appear in the fossil record some 578 million years ago, and represent the dominant members of early ecosystems up until the Cambrian explosion of animals.My research focuses on the evolutionary hierarchy and relationships amongst the Ediacara biota, and their relationships to animals. I use morphometric techniques to study the growth and differentiation in closely related species, and apply modeling techniques to evaluate feeding strategies in these enigmatic organisms. I also apply advanced instrumentation such as Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) to study the geochemical and sedimentological context of soft-tissue fossilization.My recent research focuses on understanding the fossilization of soft tissues, combining laboratory decay experiments with extensive field-based studies in Newfoundland, South Australia, and Namibia. My fieldwork showcases how growth, feeding, reproduction, and inter-species competition can be revealed through studies of fossil communities. 

Courses taught:

ERS103H5 and ERS313H5 (undergraduate); ESS2303H1, ESS3604H1, and ESS3606H1 (graduate)



*Maloney, K.M., *Maverick, D.P., Schiffbauer, J.D., Halverson, G.P., Xiao, S. and Laflamme, M., 2023. Systematic paleontology of macroalgal fossils from the Tonian Mackenzie Mountain Supergroup. Journal of Paleontology, 1-17. doi:10.1017/jpa.2023.4.

Darroch, S.A.F., Gibson, B.M., Syversen, M., Rahman, I.A., Racicot, R.A., Dunn, F.S., Gutarra, S., Schindler, E., Wehrmann, A., and Laflamme, M. 2022. The life and times of Pteridinium simplex, Paleobiology, 48(4): 527-556. doi:10.1017/pab.2022.2.

*Dick, D., Novack-Gottshall, P., Darroch, S.A.F. and Laflamme, M. 2022. Does functional redundancy determine the ecological severity of a mass extinction event? Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biology.

*Lindsay-Kaufman, A., Rosbach, S.A., Wright, L., Edwards, E.V.L., Vaziri S.H., Majidifard, M.R., Selly, T., Laflamme, M., and Schiffbauer, J.D. Accepted. Describing Difficult ShellHash Assemblages from the Lower Cambrian Soltanieh Formation, Alborz Mountains, Northern Iran. Palaios, 37(7): 374-391.

*Turk, K. *Maloney, K.M., Laflamme, M., and Darroch, S.A. 2022. Paleontology and ichnology of the Late Ediacaran Nasep-Huns transition (Nama Group, southern Namibia). Journal of Paleontology, 96(4): 753-769.

Maloney, K.M., Schiffbauer, J.D., Halverson, G.P, Xiao, S., and Laflamme, M. 2022.Preservation of early Tonian macroalgal fossils from the Dolores Creek Formation, Yukon. Scientific Reports, 12(1), pp. 1-13.

Dick, D.G., and Laflamme, M. 2021. An abundance- and morphology-based similarity index. Paleobioogy, Paleobiology, pp.1-18.

Gibson, B.M., Darroch, S.A., Maloney, K.M., and Laflamme, M. 2021. The importance of size and location within gregarious populations of Ernietta plateauensis. Frontiers in Earth Science 9:749150. doi : 10.3389/feart.2021.749150

Maloney, K.M., Halverson, G. P., Schiffbauer, J.D., Xiao, S., Gibson, T.M., Lechte, M.A., Cumming, V.M., Millikin, A.E.G., Murhy, J.G., Wallace, M.W., Selbey, D., and Laflamme, M. 2021. New multicellular marine macroalgae from the early Tonian of northwestern Canada. Geology.

Vaziri, S.H., Majidifard, M.R., Darroch, S.A.F., and Laflamme, M. 2021. Ediacaran diversity and paleoecology from central Iran. , 95(2), 236-251. DOI: 10.1017/jpa.2020.

Becker-Kerber, B., de Barros, G.E.B., Paim, P.S.G., Prado, G.M., da Rosa, A.L.Z., El Albani, A. and Laflamme, M. 2021. In situ filamentous communities from the Ediacaran (approx. 563 Ma) of Brazil. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 288(1942), 20202618.

Gibson, B.M., Furbish, D.J., Rahman, I.A., Schmeeckle, M.W., Laflamme, M., and Darroch, S.A. 2021. Ancient life and moving fluids. Biological Reviews, 96(1), 129-152. DOI:

Darroch, S.A.F., Cribb, A.T. Buatois, L.A., Germs, G.J.B, Kenchington, C.G., Smith, E.F., Mocke, H., O’Neil, G.R., Schiffbauer, J.D., Maloney, K.M., Racicot, R.A., Turk, K.A., Gibson, B.M., Almond, J., Koester, B., Boag, T.H., Tweed, S.M., and Laflamme, M. 2020. The trace fossil record of the Nama Group, Namibia: exploring the terminal Ediacaran roots of the Cambrian explosion. Earth-Science Reviews, 103435.

Maloney, K.M., Boag, T.H., Facciol, A.J., Gibson, B.M., Cribb, A., Koester, B.E., Kenchington, C.G., Racicot, R.A., Darroch, S.A.F., and Laflamme, M.. 2020. Paleoenvironmental analysis of Ernietta-bearing Ediacaran deposits in southern Namibia. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 556, 109884.

Cribb, A.T., Kenchington, C.G., Koester, B., Gibson, B.M., Boag, T.H., Racicot, R.A., Mocke, H., Laflamme, M., and Darroch, S.A.F. 2019. Increase in metazoan ecosystem engineering prior to the Ediacaran-Cambrian boundary in the Nama Group, Namibia. Royal Society Open Science, 6(9).

Piunno, P., deBraga, M., Dexter, T., and Laflamme, M. 2019. Teaching Research Best Practices through Early-Career Experiential Learning. Journal of Chemical Education.

Szurmak, J., Laflamme, M., Thuna, M., Ahmed, M., and Dhillon, K. 2019. A qualitative interview-based pilot study of discipline selection narratives by undergraduate science students: in search of “aha” moments and “bottlenecks”. Discussions on University Science Teaching: Proceedings of the Western Conference on Science Education, 2(1). Retrieved from

Gibson, B.M., Rahman, I.A., Maloney, K.M., Racicot, R.A., Mocke, H., Laflamme, M., and Darroch, S.A.F. 2019. Gregarious suspension feeding in a modular Ediacaran organism. Science Advances, 5(6), eaaw0260. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw0260.

Vaziri, S.H. andLaflamme, M. 2019. Ediacaran fossils from the Kushk Series in Bafqand Behabad regions of Central Iran. Scientific Quarterly Journal Geosciences (in Persian with English abstract), 28 (112): 261 – 268.

Darroch, S.A.F., Laflamme, M., and Wagner, P.J. 2018. High ecological complexity in benthic Ediacaran communities. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 2:1541–1547. (Cover)

Darroch, S.A.F., Smith, E.F., Laflamme, M., and Erwin, D.H. 2018. Ediacaran extinction and Cambrian explosion. Trends in Ecology and Evolution (Cover), 33(9):653-663.

Vaziri, S.H. andLaflamme, M. 2018. Lithostratigraphy and sedimentary environment of the Precambrian Kushk Series of Central Iran. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 55 (11): 1284-1296.

Laflamme, M., Krull, U.J., deBraga, M. and Piunno, P.A.E. 2018. The Advanced Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory Course: Refinements, Reflections and the Introduction of Earth Sciences. Journal of College Science Teaching, 48(1): 24-29.

Dececchi, T.A., Narbonne, G.M., Greentree, C., and Laflamme, M. 2018. Phylogenetic relationships among the Rangeomorpha: The Importance of outgroup selection and implications for their diversification. Canadian Journal of Earth Science, 55, 1223-1239.

Dick, D., and Laflamme, M. 2018. Fuzzy Ecospace Modelling. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 9(6):1442-1452.

Vaziri, S.H., Majidifard, M.R., andLaflamme, M. 2018. Diverse Assemblage of Ediacaran fossils from Central Iran. Scientific Reports, 8, 5060 http://doi:10.1038/s41598-018-23442-y

Laflamme, M., Gehling, J.G., and Droser, M.L. 2018. Deconstructing an Ediacaran frond: three-dimensional preservation of Arborea from Ediacara, South Australia. Journal of Paleontology, 92(3): 323-335.

Darroch, S.A.F., Rahman, I.A., Gibson, B., Racicot, R.A. and Laflamme, M. 2017. Inference of facultative mobility in the enigmatic Ediacaran organism Parvancorina. Biological Letters.

Muscente, A.D., Schiffbauer, J.D., Broce, J., Laflamme, M., O’Donnell, K., Boag, T., Meyer, M., Hawkins, A., Huntley, J.W., Mackenzie, L.A., Hinman, N.W., Stanley, G.D., Hofmann, M.H., and Xiao, S. 2017. Exceptionally preserved fossil assemblages through geologic time and space. Gondwana Research, 48: 164–188.

Dececchi, T.A., Narbonne, G.M., Greentree, C., and Laflamme, M. 2017. Relating Ediacaran Fronds. Paleobiology, 43(2): 171-180.

Mann, A., Rudkin, D., Evans, D., and Laflamme, M. 2017. A large onychodontiform (Osteichthyes: Sarcopterygii) apex predator from the Eifelian-aged Dundee Formation of Ontario, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences: 54: 233-241.

Schiffbauer, J.D., Huntley, J.W., O’Neil, G.R., Darroch, S.A.F., Laflamme, M., and Cai, Y. 2016. The latest Ediacaran Wormworld fauna: Setting the ecological stage for the Cambrian explosion. GSA Today 26: 4–11. Invited Paper + Cover Image.

Xiao, S., Narbonne, G.M., Zhou, C., Laflamme, M., Grazhdankin, D.V, Moczydłowska-Vidal, M., and Cui, H. 2016.  Toward an Ediacaran Time-Scale: Problems, Protocols, and Prospects. Episodes: 39 (4), p. 540-555.

Darroch, S.A.F., Boag, T.H., Racicot, R.A., Tweedt, S., Mason, S.J., Erwin, D.H., and Laflamme, M. 2016. A mixed Ediacaran-metazoan assemblage from the Zaris Sub-basin, Namibia. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology: 459, 198–208.

Boag, T.H., Darroch, S.A.F., and Laflamme, M. 2016. Ediacaran distributions in space and time: testing assemblage concepts of earliest macroscopic body fossils. Paleobiology, 42(4), 574–594.

Cotroneo, S., Schiffbauer, J.D., McCoy, V.E., Wortmann, U.G., Darroch, S.A.F., Peng, Y., and Laflamme, M. 2016. A new model of the formation of Pennsylvanian iron carbonate concretions hosting exceptional soft-bodied fossils in Mazon Creek, Illinois. Geobiology: 14(6):543-555. Cover Image.

Locatelli, E.R., Krajewski, L., Chochinov, A.V., and Laflamme, M. 2016. Taphonomic variance between Marattialean ferns and Medullosan seed ferns in the Carboniferous Mazon Creek lagerstätte, Illinois, USA. Palaios, 31: 97–110.

Rahman, I.A., Darroch, S.A.F., Racicot, R.A., and Laflamme, M. 2015. Suspension feeding in the enigmatic Ediacaran organism Tribrachidium demonstrates complexity of Neoproterozoic ecosystems. Science Advances 1 (10): e1500800.

Darroch, S.A.F., Sperling, E.A., Boag, T.H., Racicot, R.A., Mason, S.J., Morgan, A.S., Tweedt, S., Myrow, P., Erwin, D.H. and Laflamme, M. 2015. Biotic replacement and mass extinction of the Ediacara biota. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1003.

Laflamme, M. and Piunno, P.A.E. 2015. Education and Outreach: Innovation in palaeontological research driven by students and non-specialists. Palaeontology Online, Volume 5, Article 5: 1-7.