2019 AMI Online Salon

Animal-substrate interactions through geologic time

Project Details

  • Company/Institution: Biomedical Communications, University of Toronto
  • Entrant Name: Dave Mazierski
  • Membership Type: Professional Submission
  • Address: Mississauga, Canada
  • Client: Dr. Luis Buatois
  • Medium/software used: Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop
  • Final presentation format: Print (journal cover)
  • Primary Audience: Geologists and invertebrate palaeontologists

Project Description

The nature of interactions between aquatic life and the lake or ocean floor have changed dramatically through time. Disturbances in the substrate caused by organisms in search of nutrients or shelter are defined as bioturbation. Different organisms leave specific diagnostic evidence of their presence behind, and even soft-bodied taxa which defy fossilization can be identified by these trace fossils, which represent animal behaviors. This cover illustration for a feature article in GSA Today, the journal of the Geological Society of America, graphically describes (from left to right) the creation of trace fossils by animal-substrate interactions, from the enigmatic fauna of the Ediacaran (635-541 MYA) and their minimal interactions with biomat substrate to the more energetic bioturbators of the Cambrian (541-485 MYA), late Paleozoic (359-252 MYA) and late Phanerozoic (200 MYA-present), and the distinctive record of trackways, burrows, and excavations they leave behind.