Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve (MPER) World Heritage Site, on the southeastern coast of Newfoundland, Canada, is one of the foremost global Ediacaran fossil localities. MPER contains some of the oldest known assemblages of the softbodied Ediacaran macrobiota, and its fossils have contributed significantly to Ediacaran paleobiological research since their initial discovery in 1967. Preservation of multiple in situ benthic paleocommunities, some comprising thousands of specimens, has enabled research into Ediacaran paleoecology, ontogeny, taphonomy, taxonomy and morphology, offering insights into the possible phylogenetic positions of Ediacaran taxa within the tree of life. Meanwhile, a thick and continuous geological record enables the fossils to be placed within a wellresolved temporal and paleoenvironmental context spanning an interval of at least 10 million years. This article reviews the history of paleontological research at MPER, and highlights key discoveries that have shaped global thinking on the Ediacaran macrobiota.
Oliver Bonham, Bruce Broster, David Cane, Keith Johnson and Kate MacLachlan
Competency-based assessment approaches to professional registration reflect the move by professions, both in Canada and around the world, away from traditional credentials-based assessments centred on a combination of academic achievements and supervised practice time. Entry-to-practice competencies describe the abilities required to enable effective and safe entry-level practice in a profession. In 2012, Geoscientists Canada received funding from the Government of Canada's Foreign Credentials Recognition Program. A central component of the funding involved the development of a competency profile to assist in assessment for licensing in the geoscience profession. Work concluded with the approval of the Competency Profile for Professional Geoscientists at Entry to Practice by Geoscientists Canada in November 2014. The Competency Profile comprises concise statements in plain language, setting out the skills and abilities that are required to be able to work as a geoscientist, in an effective and safe manner, independent of direct supervision. It covers competencies common to all geoscientists; competencies for the primary subdisciplines of geoscience (geology, environmental geoscience and geophysics); and a generic set of high level competences that can apply in any specific work context in geoscience. The paper is in two parts. Part 1 puts the concept of competencies in context and describes the approach taken to develop the profile, including: input from Subject Matter Experts (practising geoscientists representing a diverse sampling of the profession); extensive national consultation and refinement; and a validation procedure, including a survey of practising Canadian geoscientists. Part 2 introduces the profile, explains its structure, and provides examples of some of the competencies. The full competency profile can be obtained from the Geoscientists Canada website, www.geoscientistscanada.ca. Future work will identify specific indicators of proficiency related to each competency and suggest appropriate methodologies to assess such competencies. It will also involve mapping the profile to the existing Canadian reference standard, Geoscience Knowledge and Experience Requirements for Professional Registration in Canada.
Robert B. MacNaughton, Godfrey S. Nowlan, Alexander D. McCracken and Karen M. Fallas
Since 2004, the Calgary office of the Geological Survey of Canada has been holding 'Rock ‘n' Fossil Road shows' at Calgary Public Library branches, in partnership with the Alberta Science Network and the Alberta Palaeontological Society. These now-annual earth science education outreach events have given more than 3700 people of all ages the opportunity to view, examine, and learn about GSC-Calgary's collection of rocks, minerals, and fossils (including many museum quality pieces), have their own samples and collections identified by experts, and gain a better understanding of local and regional geology. This article describes what goes into organizing these events, reviews their evolution, and discusses reasons for their enduring success. The 'Road Show' approach can be viable in a range of settings and may be a good educational outreach option for research institutes with collections of interesting geological specimens and a critical mass of interested staff.