Summary of the 2005 Workshop

US-China Workshop in Geology and Paleontology CRITICAL TRANSITIONS IN THE HISTORY OF LIFE (I)


National Museum of Natural History Smithsonian Institution Washington, DC, USA (11/05-11/06, 2005) Conveners Zhe-Xi Luo, Douglas H. Erwin, Samuel A. Bowring, & Yugan Jin Sponsors National Science Foundation (US) National Natural Science Foundation (China)



This workshop was held on November 5 and 6, 2005 in the Executive Conference Center at the National Museum of Natural History: (1) to review the recent advances in geology and paleontology in the United States and in China; (2) to exchange research ideas and data on critical transitions in the history of life; and (3) to promote further collaboration between Chinese and American geologists and paleontologists.

The conference was attended by 38 scientists from 29 universities, museums, and research institutes in the US and China. Also present were 5 staff members of NSF (US) and NSF (China) as observers, and 2 scientific journalists (see List of Participants). The workshop had 5 sessions of 23 scientific talks by 24 speakers, with each session followed by a round-table discussion (see Workshop Program). The participants of the workshop were also divided into five sub-groups for thematic, in-depth discussion on the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian transition, the Permian-Triassic transition, the rise of modern terrestrial biotas during the Mesozoic, Cenozoic mammalian evolution, Pleistocene human cultural evolution and climate changes, and building cyber- and database-infrastructure through US-China collaboration. Goals of these presentations, round-table and subgroup discussions were to summarize the major advances in recent research, to identify areas of potential for breakthrough, and the ways to facilitate further collaboration by geologists and paleontologists from both countries.

The subgroup and thematic discussions are being summarized by S.-H. Xiao, S.-Z. Shen, Z.-X. Luo, K. C. Beard and A. I. Miller. At a later date, the conveners of the workshop (Luo, Erwin, Bowring and Jin) expect to develop a final report to National Science Foundation (US) and National Natural Science Foundation of China by synthesizing from the subgroup discussions. The conclusions and recommendations from the workshop, as well as its final report, will be disseminated through the Earth-Time website, and by other means as appropriate.

Major funding for the workshop was from National Science Foundation (Grant EAR0534155), with supplementary funding from National Natural Science Foundation of China. 

     National Science      Foundation

National Natural Science Foundation of China

    Geobiodiversity     Database