Since the collapse of the former USSR, there has been a considerable decline in geological and palaeontological studies in the newly emerged states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. For instance, currently there are no specialists working on the Ordovician in the entire region of Kazakhstan. However, significant palaeontological collections and geological information have accumulated over a period of more than half a century in local geological services and academic institutions, and these are in danger of total loss and destruction because of a lack of qualified specialists. A proper study of palaeontological material and its subsequent publication will help to save this valuable information. At present, the early Palaeozoic geology of Kazakhstan is the subject of vigorous discussion and controversy arising from conflicting views on the interpretation of palaeogeography and geological history. The study of brachiopod faunas has the potential to reveal distinct biogeographical signatures, which should provide rigorous tests for the various conflicting plate tectonic models.
This research is based on substantial collections of the Early Palaeozoic brachiopods from Kazakhstan hold in the National Museum of Wales and it will be concentrated on the diverse, but poorly known Ordovician brachiopod faunas from Kazakhstan as well as on the Ordovician conodont biostratigraphy of ophiolites tectonically placed into the early Palaeozoic composite subduction complexes in central Kazakhstan and Chingiz Range. Results of proposed studies will be of importance for understanding the palaeogeographic position of the early Palaeozoic terranes included into the Kazakhstan and Central Asia tectonic collage during the early Palaeozoic, which is most uncertain. In the early Palaeozoic these microcontinets and volcanic island arc systems located on migration routes linking benthic faunas of Gondwana, North and South China and Baltic Plate, and represented a locus of origin and subsequent dispersion of some biogeographically important brachiopod groups, e.g. trimerellides, atrypidines, athyridides and pentameroideans (Nilitina et al.2006, Nikitin et al.2006, Popov and Cocks 2006).
Nikitina, O. I., Popov, L. E., Neuman, R. B., Bassett, M. G. and Holmer, L. E. 2006. Mid Ordovician (Darriwilian) brachiopods of South Kazakhstan. In Bassett, M. G. and Deisler, V. K. (eds). Studies in Palaeozoic palaeontology. National Museum of Wales Geological Series , 25 , 145-222.
Nikitin, I. F., Popov, L. E. and Bassett, M. G. 2006. Late Ordovician rhynchonelliformean brachiopods of north-central Kazakhstan. In Bassett, M. G. and Deisler, V. K. (eds). Studies in Palaeozoic palaeontology. National Museum of Wales Geological Series , 25, 223-294.
Popov, L. E. and Cocks, R.L.M. 2006. Late Ordovician brachiopods from the Dulankara Formation of the Chu-Ili Range, Kazakhstan: their systematics, palaeoecology and palaeobiogeography. Palaeontology , 49(2), 247-283.
Jisuo Jin and Popov, L.E. 2008. A new genus of Late Ordovician–Early Silurian pentameride brachiopods and its phylogenetic relationships. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica , 53 , 221-236.