Over 70 participants from some 15 countries gathered in Novosibirsk for the 13thInternational Symposium on the Ordovician System and the 3rd annual meeting of IGCP 653 ‘The onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event’. It is 140 years since Charles Lapworth established the Ordovician arising out of the conflict between Adam Sedgwick and Roderick Murchison and their respective Cambrian and Silurian systems, and 45 years since the first Ordovician Symposium in Birmingham under the auspices of Sir Alwyn Williams. The former established the preliminary boundaries of the Ordovician in England and Wales while the latter set in train, inadvertently, the global series and stages we use today.
During almost a full working week some 55 oral and 30 poster presentations educated, informed and at times entertained an audience that included some 40 foreign and 30 domestic researchers; the latter represented 12 research institutions, geological surveys and universities from across the Russian Federation. Delegates had the opportunity to visit three museums: Central Siberian Geological Museum (IGM SB RAS), Paleontological Museum “GEOCHRON” (IPGG SB RAS), Museum of Earth’s History (NSU); and in addition a visit was arranged to the center for drill core collections (IPGG SB RAS). Several participants studied some key fossils, including types, in the Paleontological Museum.
These are the hard facts. But what did we learn? During four days of intensive lectures and poster sessions, the mornings and afternoons were prefaced by a wide range of keynote lectures including (i) Charles Lapworth and the founding of the Ordovician, (ii) an integrative stratigraphy for the Ordovician of China, bioturbation, (iii)bioerosion and ecospace utilization during the Early Palaeozoic, (iv)Ordovician conodonts in the Russian Arctic, (v) the evolution of the Paleo-Asian Ocean during the Ordovician, (vi) Late Ordovician brachiopod evolution in Laurentiaand (vii) the Ordovician substrate revolution. A highlight was Alexandr Kanygin (the doyen of the Ordovician of Siberia) and his colleagues’ overview of the palaeontology and stratigraphy of this massive palaeocontinent. Many of the subsequent talks show-cased new data, new analyses and new ideas, many from younger presenters. There are many areas yet to be explored, new data to be captured and a wealth of Ordovician still to be properly documented through multidisciplinary lenses. It was refreshing to enjoy so many field-based studies.
But that’s not all. The visits to the museums were inspirational breaks from the lecture halls, grandstanding some super fossils, rocks and minerals together with a spectacular journey through earth history, beautifully narrated through some wonderful displays and exhibits. About 80 delegates attended the pre (Gorny Altai, SW Siberia, July 9-18 and St. Petersburg area, July, 15-17) and post-conference (Podkamennaya Tunguska River, Siberian Platform, July, 23-30) excursions. A unique opportunity to sample Russia’s diverse Ordovician on two palaeoplates. We also learnt that the wearing of a red cap on Siberian excursions will deter bears.
The conference dinner was quite unforgettable. Great food, vodka and wine, many great speeches with short representations throughout the evening from each country (and indeed palaeoplate) reinforcing the truly international nature of Ordovician research and researchers. Our Siberian hosts demonstrated their openness, fine hospitality and warm friendship. Dancing of various styles at a variety of tempos punctuated the evening. And, the Irish pub does dispense some excellent Guinness!
There was a short IGCP business meeting, well attended and with some useful discussion. Next year the final meeting of the project will be in early June, in the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen with fieldtrips in and around Scandinavia, including the magical island of Bornholm; more details to follow very soon. As is the tradition, we will apply for a further year and an absolutely final meeting is scheduled for the University of Lille in the summer of 2021. A proposal for the next ISOS congress in Estonia, ISOS14, was enthusiastically endorsed by the conference, for 2023.
A huge vote of thanks to our many Russian colleagues who made this memorable meeting such a great success. The atmosphere in and around Akademgorodok was very special and an ideal environment to meet both old and new colleagues, and discuss and present the very best of Ordovician research. Special thanks go to Olga Obut and Nikolai Sennikov together Andrei Dronov and their colleagues for providing all the delegates with such a unique experience. Очень большое спасибо.
David Harper and Yuandong Zhang (co-leaders, IGCP 653)
13th ISOS Photo Gallery