Project News

Durham meeting in photos

The opening meeting of IGCP 653: Onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event held September 25- October 1st at Durham University.  Dubbed “Ordovician by the Lakes” due to the proximity of the conference room to Van Mildert College lake and the field excursion to the English Lake District, participants certainly had plenty of water to contemplate both from the conference settings and the Ordovician seas.

The conference program including abstracts can be downloaded here: Durham 2016 Final Meeting Programme.

Highlights of the conference included a scientific sessions with synthesis talks on the state of knowledge in ocean modeling, paleogeography reconstruction, biodiversity estimation, climate models, and geochemical proxies, plus new research presentations, and active discussion nearly 40 scientists from nearly 20 countries; a conference banquet in the 11th century (and onward) Durham Castle; field exploration of classic Late Ordovician localities complete with rain showers and even horizontal hail.  Excellent discussions, plans for future and ongoing collaborations occurred.

We are still not quite sure exactly when and how the GOBE occurred (perhaps it was in the rocks at the hailstorm?), which leaves lots of exciting developments yet to come as the community progresses in gathering new data, new analyses, and new insights into this exciting period in Earth history.


Opening meeting updates

The registration and abstract deadline for the opening meeting in Durham is August 12, only two weeks away!  
Register here:

The project co-leaders are planning a scientifically exciting and productive meeting.  Our goal is to foster an environment where participants can share their current research and ideas about the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event  via presentations and vibrant breakout groups to discuss consensus and gaps in our current knowledge and future research directions.

A series of keynote speakers will help establish a framework for advancement by introducing the utility of methods, proxies, and summarizing current state of knowledge about the GOBE within their domains:

Tais W. Dahl: Geochemical proxies
Bjorn Kröger: Measuring Biodiversity
Conall MacNiocaill: Palaeogeography
Claude Monnet: Diversity metrics
Alexandre Pohl: Reconstructing oceanography and paleoclimate

We are also organizing an edited volume in an international peer-reviewed journal as the publication outlet for the meeting (details to come).

Funding is available through the IGCP program to provide partial travel support for students and scientists from developing nations participating in the Durham meeting.  To to apply for support, email Project Leader Thomas Servais ( or another co-leader.

More information here:
First meeting circular
Second meeting circular
IGCP 653 project website

We hope to see you in Durham in September!

IGCP 653 events at the Ghent IGCP 591 meeting


The The onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversity Event project co-leaders invite you to attend a short, first business meeting for IGCP 653 on Friday, July 8th from 15.30 to 16.00. We will be meeting in the Sacristy Room at Het Pand during the workshop coffee break.

The following day, Saturday July 9th, there will be an official announcement of the new project IGCP 653 during the session «proposals for follow up projects» in the Refter Room at 17.00.

Co-leaders Servais, Harper, Rasmussen, and Stigall will be attending the meeting. Please feel free to stop and chat with any of us about your ideas for the newly launching project The onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversity Event. We are looking forward to seeing many of you in Ghent!

Second Circular: Opening Meeting in Durham

2ndCircularHeaderThe second circular provides an update on the arrangements for the Opening Meeting of IGCP 653, which will be held at Van Mildert College, Durham University, UK, as outlined in our first circular

The opening meeting of the new IGCP 653 project is intended to be a discussion-based forum, where we plan to debate and ­fine-tune the key objectives of the new project. Talks and posters are invited to inform and illustrate the following three themes outlined below.

Download the second circular: Click here

Meeting Programme
26 May Registration opens
12 August Abstract Submission Deadline

25 September Arrival Van Mildert College, Durham University
Reception Fork Buffet and Refreshments

26 September Day 1 What is the GOBE?
Oral and poster presentations

27 September Day 2 Geography and Oceanic Setting
Oral and poster presentations

28 September Day 3: Databases and Diversity
Oral and poster presentations
Conference Dinner Senate Suite, Durham Castle, Durham University
(optional, to be booked separately)

29 – 30 September Field Excursion Lake District (optional, to be booked separately)

1 October Return to Durham

*A third circular, containing the full programme for the meeting will be circulated in September, but we ask that you regularly check the project webpages for programme updates and conference


Initial announcement

white_titleDear colleagues,

We are delighted to announce that our new International Geoscience Project IGCP 653 “The onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event” has been accepted for five years from 2016 to 2020.

Following the International Geoscience Projects IGCP 410 “The Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event”, GOBE, (1997-2002), IGCP 503 “Ordovician Palaeogeography and Palaeoclimate” (2004-2009), and to some extend IGCP 591 “The Early to Middle Palaeozoic Revolution” (2011-2016), the new project IGCP 653 “The onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event” focuses on the Ordovician Period, and has as its main objective to search for the triggers of the different biodiversification events that together constitute the GOBE.

All relevant information to the new project can be found on the website:

The website includes a current list of participants, and the announcement of all future meetings, including those scheduled in this first year of the project: in 2016, we will be present at the Closing Meeting of IGCP 591 at Ghent, Belgium, July 6-9, at the Annual Meeting of the Micropalaeontological Societyat Lille, France, November 17-18, and at the Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association at Lyon, France, December 14-17.

Our Opening Meeting will take place at Van Mildert College, Durham University, UK, September 25th-30th, 2016. Information about this opening meeting, that will include dedicated workshops and a field excursion to the Ordovician successions of the Yorkshire Dales and the English Lake District, will be circulated soon.

Welcome to IGCP 653 “The onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event”!

With best wishes,

Thomas Servais
David A.T. Harper
Olga T. Obut
Christian M.Ø. Rasmussen
Alycia L. Stigall
Zhang Yuandong