The EPD business meeting was attended by more than 70 palynologists.
Chair: Andy Lotter (AL)
1 Report of EPD database manager, Michelle Leydet
2 Reports from selected support groups
4 Discussion of future administrative structure
ML covered the material she presented at the database symposium. Major points included 407 new data series submitted during the past year, her attendance at several relevant meetings, her participation in a training course in the USA with Eric Grimm, establishment of the web-page and wiki site in collaboration with John Keltner.
She requested a future meeting with the age-depth chronology group and made a plea for volunteers to join the hard-pressed taxonomy group.
The taxonomy group met in Bern in January 2008. The taxon list now exceeds 3000. They plan a guideline for contributors that could be published in Vegetation History and Archaeobotany. The next meeting is planned for Durham, UK in early winter 2008. Details to be placed on the wiki.
The database structure group met in Aix during the summer of 2007 and had discussions with John Keltner. Decisions about the future structure will be made after consultation with the Neotoma database under development at Penn State University. Simon Brewer was sent to a Neotoma meeting on a fact-finding tour.
The age-depth chronology group has only met in the virtual world on-line. A meeting is planned with ML for the near future.
The financial group highlighted the new appointment of the database manager (ML) funded by University of Marseilles. Recent meetings have been funded by the EU Network of Excellence EVOLTREE and the EUROCLIMATE programme DECVEG. DECVEG is now finishing, EVOLTREE continues for 18 more months and may be able to support some further activities. New sources of finance are needed. The series entitled “Contributions to the European Pollen Database” has begun to appear in Grana.
The mapping and data accuracy group held meetings in Utrecht (January 2008) and Bonn (September 2008). 800 sequences have been checked and numerous errors rectified. A review of EPD history and activities is in preparation and placed on the wiki for further contributions. There are advanced plans for preparing interactive maps of pollen types to show late Quaternary dynamics.
A new offer from PANGAEA was presented by AL to act as a stable archive for EPD data and to exchange German sites with the EPD.
AL presented two possible administrative structures. 1. Business as usual with Executive Committee and Advisory Board, and 2. a ‘slim’ structure comprising 2-3 senior palynologists and an advisory board consisting of support group leaders and ML. The topic was thrown open for other suggestions and discussion.
There was extensive discussion with contributions from J.L. de Beaulieu, M-J Gaillard-Lemdahl, T. Giesecke, S.Brewer, K. Willis, J. Bunting, K.Oeggl, K.E. Behre, S. Hicks, R. Fyfe, S. Wolthers, W. Doerfler, R. Bradshaw, G. Gil-Romera, B. Davis, E. Grimm, P. van der Knaap. There was general agreement that the self-organised support groups had been successful and had included more scientists in database activities. A need was expressed for a slim administrative structure to co-ordinate support group activities, make decisions and interact with the research community outside the EPD.
It was finally decided that a chairperson should be elected for a 4 year term of office to chair a board comprising the spokespersons of the support groups. The term of office could conveniently finish at each IPC meeting. The chairperson would not be a formal member of a support group. The main duty of the chairperson would be co-ordination of support group activities and to represent EPD. Support group spokespersons would be chosen by the groups themselves. Interested scientists are free to join these groups as necessary. Vice-chairmanship of the board would be rotated amongst the spokespersons. This board will act as the decision-making group of the EPD. They will vote on key issues and decide whether certain questions should be opened for decision by the wider EPD community.
All database contributors would be able to vote in the chairperson election together with scientists having a bona fide interest in the EPD, who must register in advance with the database manager. Nominations (with a proposer and seconder) for the first chairperson election must be sent to ML by 15 November 2008. Nominees must be willing to stand and brief biographies will be posted on the wiki. An anonymous, internet-based election (e.g. survey monkey as used by AMQUA) will be completed by the end of 2008.
An urgent task for the support group spokespersons is to update the existing EPD protocol.
Claire Jones and Richard Bradshaw 5 September 2008