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IGCP 503
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33rg International Geological Congress, Oslo, August 2008

IGCP project 503 working groups

by Thomas Servais and the co-leaders

On of the major achievements of the very successful IGCP project 410 “The Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event”, that run during the 6 years 1997-2000, was the creation and coordinated work of the different regional teams and the global “clade” teams (see elsewhere in this newsletter).
During the opening meeting of the new (successor) project IGCP 503 “Ordovician Palaeogeography and Palaeoclimate” at Erlangen in September 2004, the six co-leaders of the new project met in order to discuss the way how to continue the good work that was done in the previous years under the guidance of Barry Webby and his co-leaders. During the “business meeting” of the IGCP 503 at Erlangen, the main ideas were presented to the participants, and there was a general agreement on the following points:

The different regional teams that have coordinated their efforts in establishing regional (at a palaeocontinental scale) biodiversity curves, should continue their work. Some of the teams were and are very active, while others were composed only by a few individuals. The composition of the different regional teams will be discussed within the next months. Following discussions at Erlangen, it was decided that a “Russian and former Soviet Union states” working group will be set up. As many workers are also active in the Middle East, it was proposed to establish a working group for this region (including a.o. countries Iran).
The Baltic regional team is particularly active, with the organisation of the 8th Wogogob (May 2004, for a report see elsewhere in this newsletter) and a next meeting during the 6th Baltic Stratigraphical Conference in August 2005.
The western and southern European team did also good work during 410, and discussions are currently going on to continue this work. Several meetings should be organised by this regional team in the next years (Glasgow 2006, Zaragosa 2007, Lille 2008).
The North American team organises the major meeting of this year 2005 (at Milwaukee, see announcement in this newsletter), while the South American team will have a regional meeting during the Gondwana 12 Congress at Mendoza, Argentina, later this year.
The very active Chinese team will organise the major meeting in 2007, but probably also a session at the 2nd International Palaeontological Congress at Bejing in 2006.

The composition of the different regional teams, with the selection of one or several coordinators, will be discussed in the following months. You are welcome to inform the leaders of the IGCP 503 project if you wish to participate or serve as local or regional coordinator.
The leaders of IGCP 410 also created “clade” teams for each (or almost each) fossil group in the Ordovician. Most of the groups provided most detailed biodiversity curves following a detailed counting of species, genera and suprageneric taxa in literature. For some fossil groups the results are already now very detailed, for other groups, there is still a lot of compiling work to do. It is therefore vital to keep these “clade” teams active. As for the regional teams, the leaders of IGCP 503 will contact individual workers in order to find for each fossil group a coordinator that can report on the progress of the work of the “clade” team. We would also like to encourage Ordovician workers to organise specific IGCP 503 sessions at the international congresses of the different fossil groups. The brachiopod clade team, for example, will have a special IGCP 503 session during the 5th International Brachiopod Congress at Copenhagen, Denmark this year (see announcement in this newsletter), while the palynomorph clade teams (acritarchs, chitinozoans, miospores, scolecodonts) will meet during the CIMP General Meeting in September 2007 at Prague.
Please, let us know, when you plan to organise IGCP 503 sessions at international congresses dedicated to specific fossil groups.
The composition of the different clade teams and the selection of its coordinators, will be discussed in the following months and the complete list should be announced in one of the next newsletters. Please, inform the leaders of the IGCP 503 project if you wish to participate or serve as clade team coordinator.
In addition to these regional and “clade” teams, that were created by the IGCP 410 leaders, we discussed at Erlangen the necessity to establish other working groups, that should discuss in the next four years some specific topics. The six co-leaders accepted to be the coordinators of these discussion groups:
Following the sessions on isotope geochemistry and interpretation at Erlangen, A. Munnecke accepted to be coordinator of a working group on isotope geochemistry in the Lower Palaeozoic.
P. Sheehan, organiser of the Milwaukee meeting in 2005, and concentrating research on evolutionary palaeoecology will be the coordinator of a working group on palaeoecology changes during the Lower Palaeozoic.
As organiser of the main meeting in 2006 at Glasgow, and being involved during IGCP 410 in the set up of large databases, A. Owen will serve as the coordinator of a working group on databases of the Ordovician-Silurian biodiversification.
Organiser of the major meeting of IGCP 503 at Nanjing in 2007, jointly with the meetings of the Ordovician and Silurian Subcommissions on Stratigraphy, Li Jun accepted to establish and coordinate the working group on biostratigraphy and correlations, in cooperation with the chairmen of the Ordovician (Chen Xu) and Silurian subcommission (Rong JiaYu).
D. Harper accepted to coordinate a working group of sea-level reconstructions. These reconstructions and their international correlations are a major goal of our new project. Dave is interested in developing the relationship between sea level curves, biofacies and major biotic events.
Finally, T. Servais will coordinate the working group on palaeogeographical reconstructions, attempting to bring together palaeomagnetism specialists and palaeontologists, in order to make progress in the next few years, with as a possible result, new, more realistic reconstructions of the geography during Lower Palaeozoic times. In addition, T. Servais will also coordinate a working group of climate modelling in the Lower Palaeozoic, with a particular interest in the modelling of the Late Ordovician glaciation.

The composition and coordination of these working groups will also be discussed in the next months. Please, feel free to contact the coordinators (leaders) if you wish to participate. Your comments and suggestions are welcome and needed.