Report of the GPD Meeting in Boulder, November 1999

(Eric Grimm)

A Global Pollen Database Workshop was held 8-10 November 1999 at the U.S. National Geophyisical Data Center, in Boulder, Colorado. Participants represented the North American Pollen Database, European Pollen Database, European Pollen Monitoring Programme, Russian Pollen Database, Pollen Database for Siberia and the Russian Far East, Latin American Pollen Database, African Pollen Database, Indo-Pacific Pollen Database, Chinese Pollen Database, Japanese Pollen Database, North American Packrat Midden Database, and North American Plant Macrofossil Database.

Representing EPD were Sheila Hicks, André Lotter, Rachid Cheddadi, and Andrei Andreev, who also reported on Russia.

The Global Pollen Database (GPD) already exists in fact, but does not have a formal organizing structure. The Workshop established an Executive Council to be composed of representatives of all the pollen databases at the Workshop. Each Database will make its own nomination. Technical advisors will be John Keltner, Rachid Cheddadi, and Matt Duvall.

The Workshop designated a Protocol Committee consisting of Eric Grimm, Sheila Hicks, and Socorro Lozano Garcia to draft a set of protocols based on those of EPD and NAPD. These will be circulated with the GPD Executive Council for comments and revision before publication.

Thule Institute (Oulu, Finland) volunteered to establish a GPD list-server. The list will serve as the primary means of communication because funding for a meeting could not be expected annully, perhaps at only 3-5 year intervals.

A major topic of discussion involved taxonomic issues related to combining databases from different continents. Particularly relevant for EPD is that EPD taxonomic hierarchical structure will be maintained in GPD to the extent possible. EPD will of course remain available as an independent database with its complete hierarchial structure intact, and will not be subsumed into GPD as the only outlet.

Considerable discussion was devoted to the problem of developing chronologies, especially calendar year chronologies and the problems of calibration. A committee was appointed to investigate this problem in more detail.