Project News

IGCP 653 theme session at Geological Society of America Meeting in Seattle

Dear All,

We are convening a topical session entitled “The onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversity Event (GOBE): Testing Hypotheses with Diverse Data Sets” at the 2017 Geological Society of America conference. The conference will be held 22-25 October in Seattle, Washington. For this session (T60) we invite contributions testing hypotheses concerning the Late Cambrian to Ordovician biotic and abiotic drivers of marine diversification in all contexts. We welcome diverse data sets illuminate the timing, initiating conditions, stratigraphy, and paleontology of this significant event in Earth’s history.  Our invited speakers include Katherine Marenco (Byrn Mawr University), Seth Young (Florida State), and Jesse Carlucci (Midwestern State University).

This session is a regional meeting of IGCP Project 653, The Onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiverisifcation Event The goal of this project is to better constrain the triggering causes leading to establishment of modern marine ecosystems and also to the identification of the reasons of the first collapse of these environments during the Late Ordovician mass extinction. Our GSA session will be the first opportunity for project participants to meet in North America.

The goal of this session is to bring together geoscientists from a diverse set of fields including palaeontology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, geochemistry, palaeooceanography, palaeoclimatology to present new research bearing on the initiating factors and timing of the GOBE.  By assembling a diverse set of speakers and topics, it is our hope that all participants will develop additional capacity to consider and ultimately integrate additional data streams within analyses and interpretations of their own data.

If you have a current project that fits the scope of our session we hope that you will consider submitting an abstract. Abstract submission is open now and will close on August 1st.  For more information about the GSA meeting visit:

Please contact either of us if you have any questions and forward this announcement to others who may be interested in contributing.

Best wishes,

Alycia Stigall (Ohio University,

Rebecca Freeman (University of Kentucky,

Meteorite impacts and the GOBE?

A new paper published in Nature Communication by a group of IGCP 653-realted authors, led by Anders Lindskog is bringing global media attention once again to the Great Ordovician Biodiversity Event.  Their article (here) indicates that the timing of maximum diversification does not overlap with the significant Middle Ordovician meteorite peak.

Lindskog, A.L., Costa, M.M., Rasmussen, C.M.Ø., Connelly, J.N. & Eriksson, M.E. 2017. Refined Ordovician timescale reveals no link between asteroid breakup and Biodiversification. Nature Communications 14066Online

Original press release

Over 50 news outlets have covered the story, a partial list is here

Some notable coverage:  ResearchGate blog  Science News Science

Note: We are compiling a list of all official IGCP 653 publications on the website publications page.  Please email Alycia Stigall ( whenever you have papers that acknowledge IGCP 653 published so we can keep our list as up to date and inclusive as possible.

4th International Conodont Symposium updates

The organizers of the 4th International Conodont Symposium to be held June 25-30, 2017 at University of Valencia in Spain have released new meeting information including:

2nd Circular

Abstract guidelines (.docx file)

Abstract Template (.doc file)

IGCP 653 is proud to be a sponsor of the meeting which will include the theme session “The rise of conodonts prior to and during the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event” organized by Drs. Ian Percival and Yong Yi Zhen.

First circular for IGCP 653 Annual meeting in Yichang, China, October 2017

The second annual meeting of the International Geoscience Programme Project 653 “Filling the gap between Cambrian Explosion and the GOBE” will be held in Yichang, China from October 8 through 18, 2017.  


Provisional Programme:
  • Oct. 8 (Sunday), 2017: Arrival, registration (ice breaker).
  • Oct. 9 (Monday), 2017: Oral and poster presentations.
  • Oct. 10 (Tuesday), 2017: Oral and poster presentations, workshop.
  • Oct. 11 (Wednesday), 2017: Mid-conference field trip.
  • Oct. 12 (Thursday), 2017: Oral and poster presentations, conference banquet.
  • Oct. 13—Oct. 18, 2017: Post-conference field excursion in Hubei and Hunan Provinces.
  • Oct.19 (Thursday), 2017: Departures.

Indoor sessions will be held in the Taohualing Hotel, Yichang City, Hubei Province, China.

The mid-conference field trip will visit the Furongian to Middle Ordovician successions, the GSSPs of Dapingian and Hirnantian stages near the Yichang city, and a few historical and scenery sites of Yangtze Gorges.

The post-conference excursion will investigate a number of classic sections of the Guzhangian (Series 3, Cambrian) to Upper Ordovician around the Yangtze Gorges area.


Important dates

  • December 19, 2016: Distribution of First Circular
  • March 1, 2017: Website of the conference available for information and registration
  • April 1, 2017: Distribution of Second Circular
  • September 15, 2017: Distribution of Last Circular
Contact information
Any questions or suggestions related to the meeting and field trips should be directed to:
Dr. FAN Junxuan (Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology):
Dr. ZHANG Yuandong (Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology): costs and registration information will be posted in the second circular distributed on April 1, 2017.

Please register your interests by filling and tickling (√) the form below and send to

IGCP653 Annual Meeting 2017 (Oct. 8 to 12, 2017, Yichang, China)
E-mail address:
I will participate in the conference and the post-conference field excursion surely
I will participate in the conference (scientific sessions and mid-conference field trip) surely

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