The Lower Palaeozoic Innovation Research Team of NIGPAS was established with the foundation of the Institute in 1950s. It is now serving as a major platform for collaborative research on the Lower Palaeozoic in China. During its early years, the Team had several internationally well-known scientists like the late Profs. LU Yanhao, WANG Yu, MU Enzhi and ZHANG Wentang, who were carrying out many pioneer investigations on palaeontology and stratigraphy in China, providing a solid foundation for many comprehensive researches. Accumulating for more than half century, the Lower Palaeozoic Research Team of NIGPAS is now a well-structured group with generations of experts and academically active in the international circle. There are about 10 senior palaeontologists including two Academicians (RONG Jiayu and CHEN Xu), several middle-aged leading scientists (e.g., ZHAN Renbin, WANG Yi, ZHANG Yuandong, LIU Jianbo, FAN Junxuan, LI Yue and YUAN Wenwei) and young researchers (e.g., ZHU Xuejian, TANG Peng, HUANG Bing, YAN Kui, WU Rongchang, WANG Guangxu and LIANG Yan), and nearly 20 postdocs and graduate students. Most of those middle-aged team members are holding positions in various international academic organizations. The team leader, Prof. ZHAN Renbin, is currently a titular member and the Secretary of the International Subcommission on Silurian Stratigraphy (ISSS) of International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) and a titular member of the International Subcommission on Ordovician Stratigraphy (ISOS).
For several decades, the Lower Palaeozoic Research Team of NIGPAS has got continuous and strong supports from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (MST), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Institute itself. A major research project from NSFC, named “Innovative Research Group Fund”, was approved in 2012 and will last for 6 years. During the past few years, the Team has organized several international academic conferences, such as the field meeting of the Cambrian (2010, 2014) and Silurian (2014) systems respectively, the 10th International Symposium on the Ordovician System (2007), the 3rd International Symposium on the Silurian System (2007), the annual meetings of IGCP503 (2007), the field workshop of the IGCP 591 (2014), and the 7the International Brachiopod Congress (2015).
Teamwork is one of the major characteristics of this Team. For several decades, team members have organized many multidisciplinary and multi-phyla (i.e. experts of several different fossil groups) field investigations: measuring sections and collecting fossils and other samples together. And furthermore, collaborations on some major scientific problems after individual investigations on most particular fossil groups have been conducted to fulfill more comprehensive achievements. To date, team members have already coauthored on nearly 1000 research papers and more than 40 monographs, based on which several provincial and national academic awards are obtained recently, including one National Natural Science Award 2nd Prize (2008) and two Science Progress Awards of Jiangsu Province (2007 and 2009).
During the past two decades, the Team has focused on the process and mechanism of a series of bio-events during the Early Palaeozoic, such as the Cambrian Explosion, the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event (GOBE), the end Ordovician mass extinction and its subsequent survival and recovery during the early Silurian. Under the robust high-resolution biostratigraphical framework, the Team has conducted a series of case studies particularly on these major bioevents and their dynamics, and published hundreds of preliminary research results, which have attracted much attention and positive comments from international colleagues. In the following years, the Team will continue to focus on the detailed process, characteristics and dynamics of these Early Palaeozoic major events. Multi-phyla and multidisciplinary collaborations will be strongly highlighted, particularly sedimentology, geochemistry and geotectonics will have high a priority besides palaeontological systematics and biostratigraphy.