August 31, 2018 at 2:30 pm

Geological Sciences Hosts International Conference on Campus

a group photo of adult men and women all in various outdoor wear standing in front of a rock cliff

IGCP 653 conference attendees participate in a mid-conference field excursion to Maysville, Kentucky

Ohio University hosted the Third Annual Meeting of the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) 653 in June. This conference, titled “Trekking Across the GOBE (Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event): From the Cambrian through the Katian” brought together a group of 60 scientists from eight nations.

a small group of international men and women looking at research posters displayed along the walls of classrom

IGCP 653 delegates from the US, China, and Australia discussing a poster session in Grover Hall

Participants engaged in three days of scientific presentations focused on investigating various aspects of changes in the Earth-Life system (oceans, tectonics, chemistry, climate, paleontology) during the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event (GOBE), with a particular interest in what initiated this event.

The GOBE occurred 460 million years ago, and its effects are still felt today. The major changes that happened during the GOBE included dramatic diversification of marine life, with increases in family and genus level taxa at a greater rate than in other parts of geologic time, major changes in global temperature and geochemical cycles, and the development of modern-style marine ecosystems.

The IGCP program is funded by UNESCO to build international collaborations in geoscience to tackle significant scientific issues with societal relevance. Dr. Alycia Stigall, Professor of Geological Sciences, is a co-leader of Project 653, titled “The onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event.” As organizer of this year’s conference, she was pleased to note that “the IGCP program is designed to bring scientists from around the world together to tackle difficult questions. I am so pleased to be able to welcome our colleagues to Ohio University for the first of our annual meetings to be held in North America.”

a group of adult men and women listening to a woman speak while standing in a museum with art displayed on the walls

IGCP 653 attendees visit the Museum Complex and learn about its transformative nature of colliding science and art

During their stay in Athens, participants also immersed in local culture at the Ridges Museum Complex, Jackie O’s, and the Dairy Barn. Sessions in Athens were paired field excursions before and after the conference so participants could examine and discuss the geology and paleontology of this interval of earth’s history including four days in Utah and Nevada and three days in Kentucky.

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