From Dr. Nigel Hughes, Leader of IGCP 668:
I hope you don’t mind my bringing our new IGCP project to your attention, if you haven’t heard of it to date. It was recently awarded, and the website has just gone live.
IGCP 668: Equatorial Gondwanan History and Early Palaeozoic Evolutionary Dynamics
Scientific studies of ancient changes in Earth’s physical environment and biota demonstrate the relevance of Earth’s past for our planet’s future. An important ancient interval of transition occurred in the later Cambrian and early Ordovician, some 500 to 450 million years ago. It included change from repeated intervals of evolutionary “boom and bust” (rapid evolutionary radiation followed by dramatic collapse of diversity) in Cambrian shallow seas into a more stable and enduring biota in the Ordovician and thereafter. This change was linked to a late Cambrian peak and early Ordovician decline in global explosive volcanism that is recorded in particular detail in the equatorial Gondwanan terrane of Sibumasu: Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Baoshan, China. In these areas fossils are repeatedly interbedded with datable volcanic ashes. Global volcanism also resulted in rapid changes in atmospheric CO2, and in widespread marine anoxia. The relationship between such environmental stresses and faunal turnover has societal significance today, but our ability to learn from this instructive episode is hindered by our ability to determine the precise timing of these events and thus link cause and effect. The project will coordinate international effort to realize the research and educational potential of the Sibumasu record in its equatorial Gondwanan and global context.
We are presently planning a meeting in Thailand in December of this year. We hope that the project will endure for 5 years and that there will also be meetings in the USA, Myanmar, Japan, and China.
Details of the project are appearing on our new website, just live. If you haven’t yet done so, we would much like you to join our lsit of collaborators so that we can keep you posted of developments.
Many thanks, and looking forward to working together,
All good wishes,
Dept. of Earth Sciences
University of California