IGCP n° 653 The onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event 

The new project IGCP 653, which has now been formally accepted by the IGCP Scientific Board, can be considered to be a direct successor project of IGCP n° 410 The Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event and IGCP n°503 Ordovician Palaeogeography and Palaeoclimate and also to some extent IGCP n°591 The Early to Middle Palaeozoic Revolution. As the title indicates, the main objective of our new project is to find the triggers of the different biodiversification events that together constitute the GOBE.

Short description of the project: 

The ‘Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event’ (GOBE) comprises the rapid diversification of marine organisms during the Ordovician Period. It is now clear that this adaptive radiation started for some organisms already in the late Cambrian and continued for others beyond the end of the Ordovician, making the GOBE the sum of a number of diversifications that completely modified marine food webs and that, for the first time in geological times, established modern marine ecosystems. The project focuses 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 will involve scientists from all over the world, and through the organization of dedicated workshops, will integrate graduate and doctoral students, in particular from developing countries.


It is planned to run the new IGCP project over a period of five years (2016-2020). The backbone of the project would be the five main annual meetings, that will all be organised independently from other congresses or conventions (except 2019: joint meeting with the International Symposium on the Ordovician System, 13th ISOS), and will be accompanied by field excursions and workshops, in particular as training platforms for graduate students.

The following main annual meetings are scheduled: 

2016, Autumn: Opening Meeting. Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom. Indoor sessions and field excursions to the Lower Palaeozoic sessions of the United Kingdom.

2017, Summer: Main Annual Meeting of the IGCP. Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Nanjing, China. Indoor sessions and field excursions to the Lower Palaeozoic sessions of the South China Platform (Yangtze Platform).

2018, Summer: Main Annual Meeting of the IGCP. University of Ohio, Athens, OH, USA. Indoor sessions and field excursions to the Lower Palaeozoic sessions of the Mid-Continent section (Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky).

2019, August: Main Annual Meeting of the IGCP. Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia. Meeting jointly held with the International Symposium on the Ordovician System (ISOS). Indoor sessions and field excursions to the Lower Palaeozoic sessions of the Altai Mountains, and northern (Arctic) Siberia.

2020, Summer: Closing Meeting of the IGCP. National History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. Indoor sessions and field excursions to the Lower Palaeozoic of Bornholm (Baltic Sea) and Southern Sweden (Scania, Öland, etc.)

At these annual meetings, business meetings will be organised to announce and discuss the future activities of the IGCP project. Such business meetings will also be held during other scientifical congresses, in order to bring together, at a regional level, the participants of the project.

For the year 2016, business meetings of the new IGCP are planned at the following events:

• IGCP 591 closing meeting at Ghent, Belgium, July 2016

• Annual Meeting of The Micropalaeontological Society (TMS), Lille, France, November

• 60th Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association, Lyon, France, December.

Similarly, such business meetings will also be organised at other congresses and conventions during the year 2017 to 2020, if possible, with symposium organised by the co-leaders of the new IGCP. In this context, we plan to organise a dedicated scientifical session at the next NAPC (North American Paleontological Convention), once the venue and the schedule are decided.

A scientific session dedicated to IGCP 653 will be organised during IPC5 (the 5th International Palaeontological Congress) that will be organised in July 2018 in Paris, France. A regional meeting at Lille University, with a field excursion to the Lower Palaeozoic sections of Belgium and France will be organised before or after the IPC5.

In addition to the main annual meetings, we plan to organise other regional meetings, mostly based on field excursions. Such field excursions will be held on different continents, and could include countries such as Morocco (field trip to the Anti-Atlas area, including visits of the Fezouata Lagerstätte, in collaboration with the University of Marrakech).

Other meetings will include training workshops for students, with seminar lectures given by the co-leaders to graduate and doctoral students. Such workshops could be organised in China (2017) and Russia (2019), and also in Morocco (University of Oujda, University of Marrakech).

Please contact the project leaders if you wish to be a member of the project, or organise a session, a regional meeting or a workshop! 

-Thomas Servais, Leader, IGCP 653