On the 14th of April 2015, during the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna, we organized a thematic section on Conservation and Stratigraphic Paleobiology with contributions on taphonomy, palaeobiogeography and macroevolution.
Beside me, the session was organized by a cohort of European palaeobiologists, including James Nebelsick (University of Tübingen, Germany), Paolo Albano and Martin Zuschin (University of Vienna, Austria), Adam Tomašových (Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia), Wolfgang Kiessling (University of Erlangen, Germany) and Andrzej Kaim (PolishAcademy of Sciences, Poland).
Comprising eleven oral presentations and fifteen posters, the Symposium was attended by a large number of scientists, an excellent result for a palaeontological session held at the EGU General Assembly, so much so that the Division on Stratigraphy, Sedimentology and Palaeontology have asked us to convene it again next year.
Steve Holland was the keynote speaker, sponsored by the Palaeontological Association. His keynote was on the stratigraphic palaeobiology of mass extinctions. He focused on the stratigraphic distribution of fossils across extinction events and, using numerical models and field-study examples, showed how the last occurrence of fossils does not generally indicate the time of extinction but is instead controlled by stratigraphic architecture (e.g. the presence of subaerial unconformities, flooding surfaces, surfaces of forced regression and condensed horizons). He concluded that many interpretations on the tempo of extinction based on stratigraphic patterns of last occurrences need to be re‑interpreted in light of the sequence stratigraphic record.
His paper has been recently published on the journal Palaeontology, and has won the 2015 Best Paper Prize of the journal!
A detailed report of the meeting can be found on the 90 Newsletter of the Palaeontological Association.