Acritax - Introduction

Objective: This site aims ultimately to provide a guide to Cambrian acritarchs. It will consist of two parts - a catalog of all described acritarch species based on the John Williams Index of Palaeopalynology (JWIP) and a parallel database of accepted Cambrian species.

JWIP Catalog: The main part of system currently consists of scanned images of the JWIP cards for Acritarchs, sorted alphabetically by genus and species. There are cards for virtually all described acritarchs with lists of literature records and notes on validity. For each card there is a low resolution jpeg image and a higher quality PDF copy. The jpeg versions can be previewed and will open faster on a slow internet connection but the PDF versions are better quality. Indexing the cards was a major task as there are tens of thousands of them and they needed to be named individually. This has now been completed.

The JWIP catalogue includes 12,000 cards for acritarch species and genera, ranging in age from the PreCambrian to the modern. Species cards are given both for original names and for new combinations, they also include invalid names, nomina nuda etc. as well as valid names. However, minor orthographic emendations are normally not given separate cards. This is the nearest thing to a complete listing of described taxa and combinations that is available online for this important microplankton group. As well as forming a listing of described taxa the cards provide notes on the taxonomy and a list of literature records of the taxon including geological age and geographic location. We beleive that placing this massive compilation online will be of immediate value to Acritarch researchers as well as providing a basis for development of a more sophisticated system.

To aid searching the catalog links are provided from each species page to all other pages with the same specific epithet (including gender variants, e.g. pulcher and pulchra). So if a species has been recombined there should be links to all the relevant cards.

Cambrian Database: The database of working taxonomy will document accepted taxa including providing synonymies, illustrations and links to the JWIP catalog cards. At present a skeletal taxonomy has been provided based on the taxa recognised by Potter et al. 2012. To get a better idea of what is readily possible you can visit the Nannotax and p_forams@mikrotax websites.


Who are we?

The site has been developed so far by Brian Pedder and Jeremy Young - but we are very open to broadening collaboration.
brian Dr. Brian Pedder had a diverse career prior to training in Geology at Leeds University and University College London (Micropalaeontology MSc). He then researched Cambrian Acritarchs for his PhD jointly supervised by Prof. Charles Wellman at the University of Sheffield and Dr. Susanne Feist-Burkhardt (Natural History Museum, London). He subsequently worked as an industrial biostratigrpaher specialising in Tertiary and Palaeozoic Palynology. He is currently a research associate at University College London. Brian is prime editor of the Acritax website.
jeremy Dr. Jeremy Young is a highly experienced academic micropalaeontologist specialising in calcareous nannofossils. He developed the nannotax website with Paul Bown and Jackie Lees in order to provide authoritative online documentation of nannofossil taxonomy. This has been a very successful project and he has subsequently expanded it in collaboration with Brian Huber, Bridget Wade and other leading specialists to cover planktonic foraminifera. Jeremy has adapted the software for the Acritax project and is responsible for the website-development.