IGCP 653 recently hosted a very successful session at the 2018 GeoBonn meeting. The large German geoscience meeting, bringing together the three major societies (geology, mineralogy, palaeontology) of Germany and its umbrella federation, was held in the former capital, Bonn, from September 2-6, under the heading ‘GeoBonn 2018.’
Among the 16 topics (plus an additional open session), the palaeontology sessions were very numerous (and partly overlapping and running in parallel).
Session10a ‘The early Explosion of Life – from the Cambrian innovations to the great Ordovician radiations’ was organized by Oliver Lehnert (Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany) and IGCP co-leader Thomas Servais (CNRS – Université de Lille, France). The session was organised as a regional (European) meeting of IGCP 653 in 2018, a few months after the main annual meeting in Athens, Ohio, USA.
The session, although taking place during the last half day – and after the conference dinner running under ‘open bar’ conditions, was well attended by over 50 scientists (mostly, but not only, palaeontologists).
The session started with the keynote lecture of David Harper (Durham University, UK) entitled “The Early Palaeozoic marine diversifications: some causes and consequences.” Other talks included contributions concerning the impact of climatic events on the different distinct pulses of biodiversifications that are observed during the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event, GOBE (by Oliver Lehnert and co-authors), the emerging phytoplankton at the base of the food chains triggering the early Palaeozoic marine biodiversifications (by David Kröck and co-authors), and ecophenotypical morphology changes of Ordovician acritarchs (by Thomas Servais and co-authors). An eye-catching talk was surely that by Brigitte Schönemann (Cologne University, Germany) and Euan Clarkson (Edinburgh University, UK), who illustrated that trilobites developed a much better vision only during the Ordovician. After that talk, everybody was convinced that trilobites had a clear view on the GOBE!
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.
A special issue of Lethaia resulting from the IGCP 653 opening meeting in Durham has been published. This issue, Contextualizing the Onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event, includes 14 articles is available online: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/15023931/51/2
We are delighted to announce that 4th Annual Meeting of IGCP 653 will be held in conjunction with the Thirteenth International Symposium on the Ordovician System will be held from July 18th to July 23th, 2019 in Novosibirsk, Russia.
The second circular (note corrected dates) is now available for this meeting HERE.
The IGCP 653 co-chairs and 13th ISOS organizers look forward to welcoming you to Russia in 2019!
IGCP Project 653 had an outstanding workshop and field excursion in Marrakech and Zagora region of Morocco from February 12-16, 2018.
The workshop was an excellent introduction to Ordovician geology and paleontology with a particular focus on Moroccan deposits. Dr. Khadija El Hariri and her associates at Cadi Ayyad University, Faculty of Sciences and Technics did an excellent job organizing the workshop, which was attended by 25 international participants plus 20+ local students. We all enjoyed examining and discussing Fezouata and other specimens, engaging in fruitful discussions during the coffee breaks, and the final musical ceremony. It was an honor to be joined by Mohommad “Ou Said” Ben Moula, the discoverer of the Fezouata Biota, as he received the Mary Anning Award from the Palaeontological Association.
A group of 28 international scientists followed the workshop with a field excursion to the Fezouata Formation that was expertly organized by Bertrand Lefebvre. We crossed the High Atlas Moutains via the Tizi n’Tichka Pass then descended to the Ternata Plain. En route to Zagora, we stopped for an overview of the stratigraphy and structural geology of the Jbel Kissing and the Draa Valley.
A highlight of the trip was examining the Fezouata Formation at You Izargane, where participants were able to examine the late Tremadocian (A. murrayi zone) portion of the Fezouata replete with trilobites, incredibly well preserved graptolites, and the lagerstatte bearing layers. In the afternoon, we visited Jbel Bou Zeroual (with directional assistance from a local camel shepherd on a motorbike), the Floian section of the Fezouata Formation. Here we collected many trilobites, echinoderms, and other typical Ordovician shelly fauna.
On the return drive to Marrekech, the group stopped to examine the spectacular Late Neoproterozoic stromatolites at Amane n’Tourhart.
Overall, the workshop and field excursion provided a tremendous opportunity to learn more about the transition from a Cambrian to Paleozoic world and expand our understanding of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event. The ability to connect and collaborate with a diverse group of scientists from more than 10 nations, truly enhanced the scientific understanding and progress of the event.
The scientific sessions in Athens include a mid-conference field trip to classic Cincinnatian (Katian) sections. The indoor sessions preceded by an excursion to late Cambrian through Ordovician outcrops of the Great Basin and followed by an excursion through Katian stratigraphy and paleontology of Kentucky. Participants will discuss and observe sedimentological, biological, and ecological changes across the GOBE and the resulting ecosystems.
We welcome contributions on all aspects of the late Cambrian through Ordovician earth system.
Abstract and early registration deadlines are March 15th, 2018. Space is limited on pre- and post-conference field excursions, so please let us know if you intend to participate on either of these but plan to register later in the registration process.
The conveners of the 5th International Palaeontological Congress, to be held from July 9th to 13th in Paris, France, warmly invite you to submit an abstract the the IGCP 653 sponsored scientific session: The onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification (GOBE): fossils, radiations and Lagerstätten (S37).
We have a strong lineup of over 30 presentations in sessions sponsored by our project at the upcoming Geological Society of America meeting. Please be sure to join us if you are attending the meeting in Seattle.
Our primary session “The onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event (GOBE): Testing hypotheses with diverse data sets” will convened by Alycia Stigall and Rebecca Freeman on Monday afternoon.