New European Pollen Database Support Group for Surface Samples (December 2009)
It has been proposed establish a new EPD support group for Surface Samples. The objective of this group will be to collect, document, incorporate and maintain surface sample data within the EPD for the benefit of the scientific community.
At present there are no surface samples in the EPD, although a number of groups and individuals around Europe have been working with various collections of surface sample data for many years. The African and North American Pollen Databases already include large collections of surface samples, and the inclusion of surface samples in the EPD will bring it in line with these other pollen databases.
Surface samples provide a key resource for understanding and interpreting the fossil pollen record. Examples include investigating the relationship between pollen and actual vegetation or land-use, taphonomic problems such as upslope transport or source area size, and the development of pollen-climate transfer functions.
The database will need to include not only pollen data, but also a large amount of meta-data. Existing datasets have varying amounts of metadata of varying quality, and it will be a big job just to check existing information and add missing metadata. Metadata includes not only simple things like source type (lake, moss polster, trap etc), location (lat, long, altitude), contributor and references, but it would also be useful to have other things like lake size, surrounding vegetation etc. Core top data and its dating provides another problem area. We would also like to make available climate data for each site to allow the more general use of pollen-climate transfer functions, as well as create greater standardisation and quality control of the datasets used in such studies.
1. Volunteers! Would you like to get involved? Or know anyone else who might be interested?
2. Offers of data! Do you have a surface sample datasets to share, or know of one that might be available (no matter how small)?
3. Metadata requests. Do you have any special requests for meta-data you would like to have available?
4. Any other feedback, opportunities for meetings or funding for workshops?
Any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us,
Basil Davis & Odile Peyron
(basil.davis at epfl.ch)
Update January 2010
Thank you to everyone who has offered help/data/support so far:
Jacqueline Van Leeuwen, Doris Barboni, Marie-Jose Gaillard-Lemdahl, Heikki Seppa, Jacques-Louis de Beaulieu,