General information

We cordially invite you to participate in the international Galileo Meeting of the European Geosciences Union on "Mass extinctions, recovery and resilience" at Utrecht University. This will be one of the first major meetings bringing together representatives of the diverse geoscience disciplines with a focus on biotic crises since the final "Snowbird" meeting in 2000. Join us in the beautiful, medieval city of Utrecht in the heart of the Netherlands for four days of extinction-themed research, conversation, and debate!


This meeting will examine all aspects of mass extinctions from deep time to the present day. Earth faces unprecedented challenges from anthropogenically-induced environmental change and there are growing concerns that we are now living through Earth’s sixth mass extinction. Understanding the cause(s) of the previous five mass extinctions and other biotic crises, and the nature of ecosystem recovery and resilience to change, has never been more timely. The current debate on the Anthropocene has intensified research on the most severe threats to biodiversity: climate change, ocean acidification, marine oxygen depletion and environmental pollution. These threats are as pertinent today as they were during the past catastrophes and much of what we know of the current Earth system behaviour derives from our study of extreme environments during past crises. The fossil record provides an invaluable wealth of information for studying the onset and dynamics of mass extinctions, and may be key to understanding the natScopeure, scale and likely course of the problem facing ecologists and conservationists today.

Within this context, mass extinctions are the subject of vast amount of ongoing, high-profile research interests. The novelty of this EGU Galileo meeting in "Mass extinctions, recovery and resilience" will be its multidisciplinary nature, allowing workers from palaeontology, volcanology, geochemistry, atmospheric science, climate modelling and geobiology to interact and share their latest findings, providing synergies for future research. This will be one of the first international, multi-day meeting on mass extinctions since the final "Snowbird" meeting was held in Vienna in 2000. The field of mass extinctions has grown enormously in the two decades that followed, and has moved on from examining temporal links between environmental change and extinctions to subtler, more nuanced research that attempts to understand the by which ecosystems collapse. Understanding this is extremely relevant to the modern biodiversity crisis. The mass extinction research community will come together through this Galileo meeting!