To fill the important knowledge gap on the biogeography and autecology of northern circumpolar diatoms, the maximum available
information must be collected. Assembling regional data makes it possible to draw ecological and environmental conclusions at a
larger geographical scale. The Circumpolar Diatom Database project aims to respond to these needs. The CDD project was initiated in
1997 in the Laboratoire de Paléoécologie Aquatique (LPA - Aquatic Paleoecology Laboratory),
at the Centre d’études nordiques (CEN – Centre for Northern Studies), Université Laval in Québec City, Canada. However, the old version of the
CDD had shortcomings, such as the absence of insertion of “Z” data (core level) as well as the lack of integration into a geographic
information system (GIS).
Throughout a recent M.Sc. project (Sirois, 2011)1, a new data structure was developed. Established on a relational database model,
the CDD is designed to accommodate sediment core level data as well as the original biogeographic diatom data. As a result, the CDD data
can easily be used for spatial analysis and its integration into a data server now allows its diffusion via networks. A user interface with
search forms makes it possible to explore the results of the CDD in simple and precise ways.
Recent data acquisition and addition tripled the amount of information within this new version of the CDD. It now contains 572 samples,
40 114 occurrence data and more than 15 000 limnological data points. Its geographic range extends over eight geographic regions of the
circumpolar Arctic, distributed across three continents: North America, Europe and Asia.
The CDD aims to become an international reference for paleolimnologists. To achieve this goal, the scientific community is encouraged to
contribute to the project by sharing their data. Several developments are planned for the CDD, including the integration into a network and
the creation of a web page with spatial representation of its contents. In addition to facilitating access to the data, these initiatives intend
to increase the visibility of the database project and to encourage contributions.
1Sirois, M., (2011). Développement d’un système d’information pour la paléolimnologie : la base de données des diatomées circumpolaires
(Circumpolar Diatom Database - CDD). Mémoire de maîtrise, Université Laval, Québec, 181p.