This message is meant to spread some of the resolutions arrived at in Brussels between the 25th and 30th of April, 1995.
The Workshop was entitled 'Xth Workshop on Atlanto-Mediterranean Sponge Taxonomy - Biodiversity Databases and Identification Systems'. Delegates attending the meeting were, alphabetically:
Boury-Esnault, Braekman, Brugman, Calcinai, Conruyt, Corriero, Daloze,
Danon, Desqueyroux-Faundez, De Weerdt, Diaz, Domingo i Gou, Drugmand,
Govare, Hajdu, Hooper, Imsiecke, Kelly-Borges, Lazo-Wasem, Le Renard,
Lebbe, Levi, Leys, Maldonado, Morrow, Pansini, Picton, Pomponi, Pronzato,
Reiswig, Richelle-Maurer, Rutzler, Sanders, Scalera-Liaci, Schalk, Smith,
Sole-Cava, Uriz, Vacelet, Valentine, Van de Velde, Van de Vyver, Van Soest,
Willenz, Wulff and Zea.
In total, 48.
It was decided that a central bibliographical database will be compiled in PAPYRUS format having Nicole Boury-Esnault's 6000 records database as a seed. Copies of the database will available from Nicole (it may be possible to have the database saved in other formats). The database will be periodically updated, and authors are encouraged to send information on their publications to Nicole to make her effort easier and the database more complete. These data will be transferred into the species database so that they can be linked to the species names cited.
The second topic concerns a database with the published species of sponges. Efforts will be coordinated by Bernard Picton. It was decided that the software Advanced Revelation is the best candidate for the task due to its high relational capabilities, and also because Bernard is most familiar with it. He will check on the price for a multiuser license to ARev and will be contacting the mailbase soon to deal with this information, and also to inform people on the preferred format for the submission of species lists.
The task of establishing a list of species of sponges known worldwide and getting this typed is of course huge. Accordingly, the globe has been fragmented and different spongers offered to take care of specific parts of the globe, as follows (alphabetically). Please note that there are gaps, and also that help may be very welcome even for the parts of the globe which are already under the responsibility of this or that sponger.
|Antarctic spp.||Hooper, Pansini|
|Caribbean spp.||Pomponi, Rutzler, Smith, Van Soest, Zea|
|Deep Sea spp.||Reiswig|
|Freshwater spp.||Manconi, Pronzato (they seek help!)|
|Japanese spp.||Kelly-Borges, Valentine|
|Mediterranean spp.||Boury-Esnault, Pansini, Uriz, Vacelet|
|North Atlantic spp.||Picton, Van Soest|
|South African spp.||Uriz|
|South American spp.||Desqueyroux-Faundez, Hajdu, Sole-Cava|
General comments about the species directory.
It must be stressed that information contained should have been published, and references must be provided. Individual efforts must be sent electronically to Bernard Picton, after he has put forward the format in which he prefers to get data, in order to avoid the need of him typing data into the database. He is only supposed to coordinate efforts and administer the database. There is no time constraint guiding individual efforts relative to the species directory - "we will have to be opportunistic depending on the availability of expertise and enthusiasm for the project" (John Hooper's words). The idea is that this database may eventually be accessible through the Internet.
Topic 3 concerns the establishment of a specimen database. Again, concern is centered on published material, at least in a first stage. These are the most useful specimens, and this restriction should make the task easier. Curators are, of course, those expected to get data on published material housed in their collections on some electronic medium which should make the assembly of a unique database possible in the future. Unfortunately, large collections as those in Amsterdam, London and Paris are still far from being catalogued electronically, so that there is a large way to go with this database. No consensus has been reached for a database including unpublished material. This may be useful for curatorial purposes but the dimension of the task makes it unlikely that any joint venture with a broad base of sponge collections will be reached in the not too distant future. Additional problems concern the fact that large collections remain unidentified and that unpublished identifications in collection jars may be in need of revision.
The fourth database concerns expert systems for identification. It was decided that plurality will be encouraged here since each approach (Delta, the Hyalonema CAT-tool, Linnaeus II, Spong-IA) focus on a different aspect of the problem, and may actually be complementary to each other. Details of the Por-Linnaeus project are now available at the ETI web site.
We (let's say, Bernard) are thinking about the possibility of developing a site on the World Wide Web (WWW). Suggestions are encouraged. Please contact B. Picton at email@example.com. If you are reading this then you have found the Porifera Web Site. (Bernard E. Picton)
Dr. Eduardo Hajdu
Rua Senador Vergueiro 154/304
22230-001 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil
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