Sino-US Collaborative Research On Critical Transitions In History Of Life: A Summary

Zhe-Xi Luo, Douglas H. Erwin, Samuel A. Bowring, Jin Yugan, and Xiangdong Wang

The history of earth and its diverse life are characterized by several critical transitions. These include the origins of metazoan animal phyla during the Neoproterozoic, the great biotic extinction and subsequent recovery through the Permo-Triassic transition, the Mesozoic origins of flower plants and living vertebrate lineages, and the radiation of mammals in the early Cenozoic. A critical issue in understanding these transitions is the relative importance of ecological processes and response to changes in physical environment. Over the past decade important discoveries and research advances for understanding these great evolutionary transitions have come from China and the United States, the two countries with remarkable scientific resources and complementary strength in geological and paleontological research.

 This scientific workshop on the Critical Transitions In History of Life will bring together the US and Chinese scientists most active in these research areas, to exchange ideas and data, and to nurture a more effective network of scientists in geochronology, sedimentology, isotope and organic geochemistry, and paleontology in both countries. This meeting will explore the potential for future collaborative studies on the major transitions in history of life and their associated environmental changes. Particular focus will be given to development of integrated research in geochronology, isotope and organic geochemistry, sedimentary geology and paleontology. The major transitions in the history of life are of broad interest to many scientists, and are most likely to stimulate integrated multidisciplinary research. The purpose of workshop is to help create a network of Chinese and American scientists with common goals so as to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and information. 

A draft White Paper, which summarizes the results and recommendations arising from our first meeting, November 5 & 6, 2005, is available as a 248kb .pdf file here.

Support from National Science Foundation (USA) and National Natural Science Foundation of China.

     National Science      Foundation

National Natural Science Foundation of China

    Geobiodiversity     Database