New Statute of IASFCP / Eddy Poty & Markus Aretz / January 2014

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

First of all we would like to wish you a Happy New Year. We hope that you will have much time for your research and fossil corals and sponges in 2014.

Just few days ago we received a message from Tomasz Wrzolek that the new IASFCP newsletter is available. This newsletter contains many important information and we would like to thank Tomek for all the time and effort he put into this newsletter. We would also like to remind you that the newsletter is a community effort and so all members are encouraged to send information to Tomek to make the newsletter as informative as possible.

When reading the newsletter we would like to draw your attention to page 6. You will find a section dealing with the future of our association named "STATUTE OF IASFCP - to change or not to change - or rather how much to change?"
This section is very important and has its roots in the discussions on the future of our Association we had during the last symposium at Liege, including the General Assembly. We all agreed that IASFCP plays a prominent and important role for the research on fossil Cnidaria and Porifera.

The symposia are the important meeting point of our scientific community. They are currently the only place where research on fossil corals and sponges is presented in its wide diversity. Apart from the presentation and discussion of results, these meetings help to foster exchange among researchers and open up new research directions. The fact that the General Assembly accepted the invitation to host the 12th symposium at Muscat in 2015 is the clear sign that our Association wants and has to continue to organize these meetings. (Please have a look on the first circular for the Muscat meeting on the webpage or in the newsletter.)

It was also common understanding that the organization of our Association has to be modified. Several reasons have been evoked, which can be mainly summarized in two points.
1. The number of specialists studying fossil corals and sponges has been constantly shrinking over the last two decades. In the same time our administrative work load has been constantly increasing, and there exist problems for the recognition of the work done in our Association during evaluation processes. Thus it is getting difficult to fill all positions in IASFCP, if we apply all rules of our Statute (geographic representation, number of terms, etc.).
2. One of the central efforts of our Association is the distribution of information on published papers dealing with fossil corals, sponges and reefs. Traditionally we are doing this via our newsletter. However, the availability and distribution of these research results via the internet and email impacts the way information circulates through our scientific community. The Association has to find a way to adapt to the increased speed of information circulation, and thus increase its impact in the daily work of its Members.

During the General Assembly we proposed to work on a proposal for a revision of the organization, which should result in new Statutes for the Association. We have to admit that we are well behind the proposed schedule, but we will distribute our suggestions in the next months to ensure that a vote on the new Statutes could be possible at Muscat. We offer you two ways to contribute:
(1) via the comment function of our blog (http://iasfcp.NOSPAMblogspot.fr/) or
(2) via messages sent to markus.aretzNOSPAM@get.obs-mip.fr and / or tomasz.wrzolek@us.edu.pl, which will be summarized and posted on the IASFCP webpage and / or the blog, depending on the content.

Please contribute to our discussions in the next 4 months!

All the best and we hope to see most of you, if not all, at Muscat,

Eddy Poty and Markus Aretz