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Forams2010 - the rich conference in Bonn
- a personal report by Michael Hesemann, Foraminifera-eu Project -

From 5th till 10th of September 2010 the Foram-World met in Bonn. 374 professional foraminiferologist plus 1 amateur (=me) met in Bonn to learn more about newest scientific results about foraminifera and their applications. Martin Langer and his team did an excellent job in organizing this event as a vivid platform for scientific and personal exchange. The opportunity was given to everbody to present his/her work as an oral and/or poster presentation. During poster sessions no oral sessions were running. The resulting richness of the scientific input is reflected in the reader of Forams2010 with more abstracts than participants.
My poster presentation
from Sunday till Tuesday was well visited by about 50 persons with 15 wanting to contribute mainly images and minilectures. Online now (8.9.) went the Short Treatise on foraminiferology offered by Bruno Granier on the 6.9. with the integration of all single images still under way. A cooperation with the eforams-project (Jaroslav Tyszka) is agreed, with as a plattform to pre-present new, not yet accepted species. Feedback: Via internet people tend to be very polite avoiding any criticsm, which is needed though to move on in a project like So I took the chance to ask for feedback. As one result I will add an FAQ to answer the many questions. "What happens to my contribution, when you are run over by a truck ? Who finances all this ? Is your plan to add 10.000 Ammonias as they will be in many samples ? Who is reviewing the classifications ? How may I send my images ?
With Thomas Cedhagen, Miroslav Bubik and an unfortunately to me unknown retired lady from Shell I intensively talked about imaging, stacking, digitalizing of collections and the importance of drawings. Bob Jones will ask the NHML on the permission to use their scans of the Brady Challenger Expedition drawings. See a first image of Lituotuba lituiformis, taken from a different publication as indicated :)
Meeting with contributors + Urbino 09 course participants.
It was a great pleasure to meet some of the first scientific contributors, for the first time Irina Polovodova and now twice since Urbino 2009 Renata Moura Mello, Ekaterina Ovsepyan and Claudia Cetean. Alltogether 9 Urbino 2009 participants were present and presenting their work.
    Forams2010 Poster Project
My poster at Forams2010 with my name missing :)
click to donwload a bigger version as pdf

Session A5 WoRMS - Forams in the Internet - a vivid discussion
this is my personal digest of the discussion only

On Monday a plenary session was held on Forams in the Internet with a vivid discussion based on two main views:

View 1

The goal should be one reliable database rather than dozens of unreliable and only temporarily available ones. This central database should be the Foraminifera section in WoRMS - the World Register of Marine Species. Committes of experts should be formed and first establish and authorize one taxonomical tree of all foraminiferal species, starting with the extant ones. At present Bruce Hayward is the only foraminiferal editor at WoRMS and looks for joining editors.

View 2

Different databases should coexist as they have different targets and approaches. Jan Pawlowski announced his soon available online database of DNA-sequences for foraminifera. WoRMS will not cover DNA as name-giving may become obsolete with DNA-coding. I pointed out that WoRMS and the DNA-database will only cover extant species, whereas 85%+ species are extinct. Cross-search capabilities, good image quality and the community-approach may qualify the " Project" as a relevant database.


No final conclusion had to be made, everyone is invited to contribute to the databases she/he wants to. Bruce Hayward asked for help of the taxonomical experts and will try to organize taxonomical committees, which create an authoritative list of names for extant species. Jan Pawlowksi asks for specimens for DNA-coding and will soon bring his DNA-database online. The is now known to more scientists and will receive mayor contributions of illustrations. Its nature as a searchable resource on images/drawings, thus based on the traditional morphological recognition rather than name-addressing, was well accepted. It should be emphasized, that there are some more valuable databases, which representatives weren't present at the discussion. Most though only cover single regions or taxa. According to my view Michael Kucera envisioned best the future of foraminiferal databases: As database technology is advanced and will move on further a super-database may easily integrate all single databases.

Important personal conclusion:
Digital illustrations may be the perfect bridge between name-adressing and DNA-coding and anyhow needed for the extinct species. Images and drawings of full and sliced specimens are according to my view the very unique, undoubtful base for all data. The first foraminiferologists have invested a lot of money and passion in drawings. The non-idealized of these drawings are still valid while name-adressing has probably seen many changes and caused confusion. This basic insight needs only to be transferred into modern times. So digitalizing copyrightfree, realistic drawings and make them searchable over a range of criteria will become a subject on

Don't wait with your contribution to any of the existing databases to serve us all.
Michael Hesemann