Decisions Affecting the Database

Marine sites: Marine sites are to be accepted for inclusion in the EPD. It is recognized that there exist sequences from marine sediments that are just as well dated as those from lakes and that contain pollen sequences that can be logically interpreted, and that there are also sedimentary sequences that cover both marine and lake phases. There seems no reason, therefore, to exclude such marine sequences. The accompanying descriptive information ensures that marine deposition environments can be distinguished from freshwater ones if needed.

Incorporation of the EPD into the GPD (Global Pollen Database): At the 1996 meeting of the EPD Advisory Board in Krakow, the board decided to permit the incorporation of EPD data into the GPD. The GPD now contains data from Australia, Europe, Latin America, North America, Siberia and the Russian Far East. The first data from the EPD have now been added to the GPD and the pace of inclusion should now accelerate. The advantages of a single, global database are many: queries can be made without regard to political or geographical boundaries; the data are more consistent, differences that invariable arise in physically separate databases are eliminated; regional subsets of the database that are consistent with regard to taxonomy, publications, and a host of other factors are now possible; application software is easier to develop and maintain. The two main problems in actually achieving the transfer of EPD data to the GPD are (1) the lack of chronologies for EPD sites, and (2) some problems of taxonomy. Since the 1996 meeting, the EPD database manager has, in collaboration with data contributors, developed chronologies for many sites. EPD names will not be changed, so the pollen taxonomy of the EPD will not be compromised by transfer to the GPD, however, inclusion with data from other areas will inevitably result in changes to the hierarchical relationship among pollen types. After discussion it was determined that following transfer of the EPD data to the GPD, the GPD data manager will produce a list of all hierarchical relationships that differ from those currently in the EPD. The EPD taxonomy working group will then have the opportunity to review and revise these changes.

Depth-age Chronologies for EPD Sites: All sites in the database, where at all possible, should include at least one chronology. Well developed chronologies are critical for making pollen data useful to the broader scientific community, which in turn enhances the respect and support for palynological research. We would like to ask contributors to assist the database manager in developing the depth-age relationships. The database manager has already developed some chronologies in collaboration with other principal investigators for specific research projects. Currently, approximately 250 sites have chronologies. Priority for chronology development will be placed on unrestricted sites. Sites without age control may also be entered in the database, particularly if these are sites that were investigated some years ago and for which the data would otherwise be lost. Undated sites are, nevertheless, often very interesting for ecological reasons. The pollen community at large is also encouraged to consider redating or obtaining additional dates, using the AMS method, from critical sites for which the cores still exist.