Taxonomy working group

Jacqueline van Leeuwen and André Lotter

The last meeting of the EPD working group on pollen nomenclature took place at the Geobotanical Institute of the University of Bern, Switzerland, between August 12 and 14, 1998. The workshop was organized by André Lotter and participants were Jacqueline van Leeuwen, Sylvia Peglar, Lucia Wick, and Rachid Cheddadi.

Pollen and spore nomenclature is not as standardized as it is for plant taxa. As a result, the same pollen or spore type may have different names in different published pollen diagrams (e.g., „Monolete spores“ and „Filicinae“ refer to the same morphological type). A standardisation of nomenclature is, however, needed when palynological results are to be compared over larger geographical areas. The task of the Pollen-Morphology Working Group is to hamonize and standardise the nomenclature on a European scale, thus providing the necessary background for integrating pollen data into the EPD. In the past the group came together for several workshops to set up a reference dictionary of pollen nomenclature. This work comprises several different steps. As, according to the protocol of the EPD, the data must contain the original taxonomic identification, the first step is to establish a name for each contributed name of pollen and spores that is valid for Europe as a whole (the so-called „accepted“ name). The accepted names are marked in the data-base as synonyms to the contributed names. A reference is given for accepted names whereever possible. The second step is then to establish a hierarchy of accepted pollen and spore names, in which they are grouped in larger units (e.g., Anthemis-type, belongs to Compositae Subfam. Asteroideae). Such a hierarchy is essential if pollen diagrams that differ in taxonomic detail are to be compared. In a third step the accepted pollen taxa are then assigned to life-form groups such as "Trees", "Shrubs", "Herbs", "Aquatics", and others. Examples of these three steps are listed below.

Contributed and archived 
name in EPD
Accepted name Literature of accepted name Higher pollen taxon Pollen group
Allium Allium-type Moore et al. 1991 Liliaceae-type Herb
Peucedanum Peucedanum palustre-type Punt & Clarke 1984 Umbelliferae Herb
Arctium Serratula-type Moore et al. 1991 Compositae Subfam. Asteroideae Herb
Quercus petraea Quercus robur-type Punt & Clarke 1984 Quercus Tree

    Thanks to the initiative of Bas van Geel and Jacqueline van Leeuwen the EPD taxon list was also extended to include microfossils other than pollen and spores encountered in pollen slides. This newly revised taxon list has been implemented in EPD.