Algal Autoecology Information Sharing Meeting
Jean Prygiel, Agence de l'Eau Artois-Picardie
Rex Lowe, Bowling Green State University
Julie Wolin, CSU
Alison Yasich, CSU
Gina LaLiberte, Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin
Jan Stevenson, Michigan State University
Rachael Fletcher, Ontario Ministry of the Environment
Jenny Winter, Ontario Ministry of the Environment
Don Charles, Patrick Center for Environmental Research
Yangdong Pan, Portland State University
Antonella Cattaneo, Université de Montréal
Michelle Bowmann, University of Alberta
John Kingston, University of Minnesota
Brian Hill, USEPA
Carol Couch, USGS
Julie Hambrook, USGS
Stephen Porter, USGS
Issues raised on discussion:
The topic discussed was the compilation of an electronic
database of autoecological information for algal taxa. We talked about
contributing the data from our studies, and raised several issues for
- Who is the database for?
Before the database is designed we need to
decide clearly who be using it (scientists, public, non-scientists etc).
Related to this was the suggestion of a tiered design, with data of increasing
complexity for different groups of users. We could begin by designing
a simple database and build on it later as needed.
- Standard format.
We need to develop a standard format and decide what
data to include e.g. the level of parameter of interest at a site at or
the optimum and tolerance value; what taxa to include; what stressors
to include (e.g. water chemistry, land use, pesticides, other contaminants).
We should use frameworks / draw ideas from other, similar databases that
have been (or are being) created e.g. NAQWA; EMAP; European Diatom Database.
- Including non-diatom algae.
We should consider including information
on non-diatom algae as well as diatoms.
- Geographic area.
Are we primarily interested in North American data
or will we include international information?
- Taxonomic harmonization.
We need to ensure that results are comparable
from different studies, in particular with regards to taxonomy. For example,
the nomenclature used in each study must be clearly recorded; alternatively,
lists of taxa could be pre-entered and participants could fill in their
data / enter data via a fixed format.
- Review and publication.
Ultimately we would like this to be a reviewed
and citable electronic document and database. We need to investigate a
- Tools that are currently available.
What tools are available now to
interested organizations / researchers? We should explore the possibility
of creating an interim, short-term database of useful information.
- Provide guidance for use of current methods.
We could also collaborate
on guidance for the use of various indices / approaches currently available,
including practical pitfalls encountered with the use of various approaches.