In memoriam: Eric Grimm

Hi all,

It is with great sorrow that we pass along the news that Eric Grimm, one of the co-founders of the Neotoma Paleoecology Database, passed away unexpectedly over the weekend. Eric was a giant in the fields of palynology and paleoecology, whose work was marked both by great breadth of vision and deep meticulousness.  Eric’s vision and hard work was instrumental in creating a culture of open data and transparent science so that as individuals, we could all contribute to a greater good of answering globally relevant questions about the influence of climate on Earth’s vegetation and the interactions among species. His contributions to the fields of paleoecology and open biological and geological databases cannot be overemphasized.  He will be sorely missed by all of us, as a leader, and as our friend.

Eric’s vision of an open and shared data architecture for paleoecology, first realized as the continental pollen databases, and now as the multi-proxy Neotoma Paleoecology Database, lives on.  We have known that for an institution to be sustainable, it cannot be solely dependent on any single person.  Hence, several years ago, we embarked on a process of expanding and solidifying the governance and day-to-day work of maintaining the Neotoma database and its software ecosystem, following Eric’s example of open, collaborative work. So the Neotoma Executive Team and Leadership Council is in the process of planning our next steps forward.  We have many ideas here, but they will take some days to solidify into plans and can also can wait until we process the news and our grief.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about this news, or anything related to Tilia or Neotoma, you can contact the Neotoma Executive Team (neotoma-contact@googlegroups.com), or Jack Williams (Exec Chair, jwwilliams1@wisc.edu) or Jessica Blois (Assoc Exec Chair, jblois@ucmerced.edu) directly, and we can figure out how best to address them.


Jack and Jessica, on behalf of the Neotoma Executive Committee

Posted by Jack Williams on 11/16