Welcome to IGCP 653: The onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event

Pattern of diversification among rhynchonelliform brachiopods. From Harper et al. 2013
Pattern of diversification among rhynchonelliform brachiopods. From Harper et al. 2013

This IGCP project, funded for the years 2016-2020 (extended to 2021), is an international effort to investigate the initiating causes and processes that produced the rapid diversification of marine organisms during the Ordovician Period, known as the ‘Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event’ (GOBE).  The GOBE includes a series of diversifications that completely modified marine food webs and that, for the first time in geological times, established modern marine ecosystems.  Timing of the radiations varied among clades and paleocontinents and may have its roots in the Cambrian.  A diverse set of biotic and abiotic drivers have been proposed to facilitate this diversification, but testing of most of these requires an international effort to improve our data quality and quantity.

Rasmussen et al. 2016 Fig 4
Summary of stable isotope, rhynchonelliformean brachiopod diversity, and climate during the GOBE. From Rasmussen et al. 2016.

Thus, the project will focus on interdisciplinary investigations, including case studies from international sites, involving specialists from the fields of palaeontology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, geochemistry, palaeooceanography, palaeoclimatology, etc., in collaboration with the Subcommission on Ordovician Stratigraphy (SOS). The results of the project will contribute to the understanding of the triggering causes of the establishment of modern marine ecosystems, but also to the identification of the reasons of the first collapse of these environments during the Late Ordovician mass extinction. The project involves scientists from all over the world, and through the organization of dedicated workshops, will integrate graduate and doctoral students, in particular from developing countries.