IGCP 668 - Equatorial Gondwanan history and Early Palaeozoic Evolutionary Dynamics

Project meeting in 2019

Meeting on Equatorial Gondwana History and Early Paleozoic Evolutionary Dynamics

  • 23-28 June 2019: University of California, Riverside, North American Paleontological Convention (NAPC) and associated fieldtrip

On 27 June 2019 a special symposium on The end of Cambrian “boom and bust” and the onset of the Great Ordovician (GOBE): diversity patterns, paleoecology, and paleobiogeography – combined IGCP653 and 668 will be held as part of NAPC.

The symposium will focus on the transition between the iterative, pulsed evolution of shelly faunas in the late Cambrian to the more sustained diversification from occurring following the earliest Ordovician. It will be accompanied by a fieldtrip, led by Drs. Jonathan Adrain and Seth Finnegan on “Extinction events and biodiversification in the Cambro-Ordovician of the eastern Basin and Range”, which will demonstrate the Laurentian record of this remarkable transition under the guidance for two of the world’s leading exponents in this area.

IGCP668 supported participants will also have the opportunity to take part in workshops (https://napc2019.ucr.edu/field-trips-workshops#midmeeting) during the meeting, a critical part of IGCP668’s training mission. 

Brief outline of the project

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 a lack of high-precision temporal resolution. The project will coordinate international effort to realize the research and educational potential of the Sibumasu record in its equatorial Gondwanan and global context.

The co-leaders are internationally recognized researchers in these topic areas from leading academic institutions in Thailand, Myanmar, China, Japan and United States of America.

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