EPD news and activities

On November 15 we lost a good friend, a brilliant scientist and pioneer in striving for open shared scientific data. Eric Grimm’s passing leaves a large empty space in our hearts. Eric is known worldwide to the palynological community as the maker of the “Tilia” program to manage pollen data and produce pollen diagrams. He was a key driver behind the creation of pollen databases; he helped establish our European Pollen Database and supported our work over the years. His knowledge of different aspects of palaeoecology, plant taxonomy and computer programming was combined in his contribution and lasting legacy, the palaeoecological database Neotoma. We also remember Eric for his passionate discussions of new ideas and findings. He supported palynologists worldwide in countless workshops, teaching them how to best create pollen diagrams, understand their data and work with pollen databases. He showed patience and enthusiasm for individual problems and was indefatigable in finding solutions. Beyond this, Eric enriched many workshop evenings with stories of fieldwork and science history based on his immense and irreplaceable experience. He will be greatly missed by our community as a leader, a scientist and a friend. In honor of Eric.

The European Pollen Database (EPD) aims at storing and developing a relational database containing data and metadata of fossil and modern pollen records from natural archives (lacustrine sediments, peat bogs, marine sediments) collected on the Eurasian continent. The goal of the EPD is to develop an open platform to foster the scientific study of long-term palaeoecological records to address various themes such as biogeography, vegetation history, ecosystem conservation. In addition, the EPD community strives at delivering the knowledge gained to the wider public (schools, non-scientific public).

The main philosophy of the EPD is data sharing. Hence, all data analysts and software developers are strongly encouraged to make their end-products available to the reserach community.

The EPD is a collaborative non-profit structure made available free of charge to the scientific community. It is developed and managed on an entirely volunteer basis, and its activities are structured as working groups.

The database is hosted on a server in France at the IMBE laboratory (Mediterranean Institute of marine and terrastrial Biodiversity and Ecology) in Aix-en-Provence. The EPD has been financed by the Aix-Marseille University since 2007.