IPA ANNUAL REPORT FOR 1999
The International Palaeontological Association (IPA), aims to promote and coordinate international cooperation in palaeontology and to encourage the integration and synthesis of all palaeontological knowledge.
Membership is open to individual palaeontologists.
The IPA General Assembly usually meets every four years at the International Geological Congress where the Executive Committee is elected. The latter consists of President, 4 Vice-Presidents, Secretary-General, Treasurer, 2 Members-at-Large, the Past President and Past Secretary-General.
Officers for the period 1996-2000 are:
The association relies solely on income from corporate membership (12 in 1999; 9 in 1998) at the rate of USD 7.50 per 100 members rising by increments of this sum for the next hundred and so on, and from a proportion (USD 25), of each individual subscription to the international journal of palaeontology and stratigraphy, Lethaia. In 1999 this amounted to USD 9,586 from 850 subscribers including 290 individual subscriptions (289 in 1998). Two future international symposia were supported in 1999.
In 1999 there was an editorial change for the journal Lethaia and Dr. Svend Stouge replaced Dr. Christina Franzen from Volume 32 (2). The owners of the journal, the Lethaia Foundation, also renegotiated the agreement on royalty payments from the publishers, Scandinavian University Press which resulted in an increase of funds to IPA from USD 9 to USD 25 per individual subscription. This is a most welcomed improvement to IPA funding. Numbers subscribing to Lethaia remain steady but the owners are not happy and hope to encourage more palaeontologists to subscribe. Uncertainty surrounding the ownership of the publishers of this excellent journal has not helped matters and there is much speculation concerning a possible take-over bid by an international company.
By-Law (3) of the constitution states: The Directory of Paleontolocists of the World and Fossil Collections of the World, should be revised and new editions published every eight years. Sales af these have almost ceased (total income for 1999 USD 50) but work has started on publishing these electronically and plans are in hand for gathering inforrnation for the personnel directory (see below).
Individual members and corporate member organisations of IPA, are welcome to use the IPA logo when advertising meetings planned by them. The association considers applications for grants of USD 500 to cover the costs of initial planning. Normally it is expected that this sum be repaid when the meeting is successfully concluded. Funding is usually made well in advance of the meetings.
Projects funded in 1999 were:
1. The session on "History of biodiversity" to be held at Geoscience 2000, organised by the Geological Society of London at the University of Manchester 17-20. April.
2. Third International Conference on Trilobites and their relatives, University of Oxford, England, 2-6. April 2001.
The initiative by member-at-large Richard Lane and the Secretary-General of compiling a list of threatened fossil sites around the world (see Lethaia volume 31 (3), pp. 196, 220, 240, 266), has not provided new reports. This is regrettable as the initial response was so encouraging and lists of endangered sites have been submitted to the IPA catalogue from all continents except Antarctica. With the consent of those submitting, summaries of these localities will be published on a regular basis in Lethaia.
Brazil will be hosting the 31st International Geological Congress to be held in Rio de Janeiro in the year 2000. Vice President A.C. Riccardi (Argentina), will represent the IPA on the organising committee. Members of the IPA executive have voiced opinions that participation of palaeontologists at the MC has been disappointing and that our science would be better served at meetings where palaeontology is more in focus. A special International Palaeontological Congress held every two, or even four, years would be an ideal arrangement. Response from our President and from North American and Chinese members of the executive was positive and at a meeting of the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists held in Sydney at the end of the 1998, planning started for the first IPC to be held in Australia in the year 2002.
Article IV (A2); Article IV D2 provide for holding our meeting to coincide with any other international congress. The Secretary-General has therefore proposed putting off an IPA meeting in Rio in 2000 and prolonging the terms of reference of the present executive until new elections can be made in Australia in 2002.
No further progress has been made with establishing the IPA website but it is hoped that it will be set up at the University of Kansas where the IPA treasurer, Professor Dr. Roger Kaesler has already installed equipment and hired a person to start working on a revision of the two directories. The Directory of Palaeontologists of the World has been given first priority. An investment of USD 6,787.90 has been made to establish the work in 1999.
A new accounting system allowed transfer of funds from the Lethaia Foundation in November 1999 making life easier for the treasurer. Enclosed here with the accounts is a list of payments from corporate members in 1999. Note, 12 out of a total of 18 countries paid their dues in 1999, the remainder had already paid in advance. It is with great pleasure to announce receipt of dues for both 1998 and 1999 from the new secretary, Ms. Li Yurong, of the Palaeontological Society of China. The IPA remains solvent thanks to the generosity of the Lethaia Foundation who will continue to support IPA as long as sales of Lethaia permit. Directory sales have become insignificant.
In 1999 the Association has:
1. Agreed to sponsor the first International Symposium of Palaeontology to be held in Sydney, Australia in the year 2002. New elections of the IPA executive committee will be held in connection with this meeting.
2. Financed two projects seeking support.
3. Begun organising the electronic publication of the Directory of Palaeontologists of the World.
David L. Bruton