Message from the President,
the International Palaeoentomological Society

Dear colleagues, Dear friends,

More than two years have elapsed since our Society was launched on September 6, 2001 during the Second International Palaeoentomological Congress in Krakow, Poland, so we are well beyond halfway toward the Third International Palaeoentomological Congress, which is scheduled for February 2005, in South Africa. It is timely to sum up briefly what we have gained and what we have lost along the way up to now. This is particularly so, because I unfortunately missed considering the results of 2002 - mainly because those were rather limited. Sorry for this omission.

We do have some important gains as well as painful losses. Completely unexpectedly, we have lost two talented and very active palaeoentomologists. A key figure in the field, and particularly in insect taphonomy, palaeoecology, and general palaeobiocenology, Vladimir Zherikhin passed away December 21, 2001, in Moscow, Russia, aged 56, at the summit of his prolific and versatile research activity. The second big loss was Viktor Novokshonov who left us on January 21, 2003, aged under 37, in Perm (Russia). He was also a gifted, promising, active scientist, devoted to the scorpionflies and several other insect groups, as well as to the entire insect world of the mid-Permian Lagerstätte Tshekarda (Chekarda) in the Urals. This double loss has left a big lacuna in our small community and badly affects our ability to cover and explore our research field.

Anyway, we also have some positive results. The long-promised History of Insects, a comprehensive treatise on the insect system, palaeontology, and phylogeny, appeared at last in 2002, to complement Carpenter's 1992 Treatise as a wider, albeit less detailed, compendium of the insect past. Just a couple of weeks ago, another important publication has appeared due to the efforts of Ewa Krzemińska and Wiesław Krzemiński, the Editor and the Chairman of the Society. This well designed and beautifully printed publication is the Proceedings of the Second International Congress of Palaeoentomology in Krakow. Another noteworthy success is that Andrew Ross has won a large INTAS Project "The terrestrial fauna and flora of the Insect Bed, Isle of Wight: interpreting the climate near the Eocene/Oligocene boundary" for 2004-2006. With eight teams of palaeoentomologists from six European countries, it should much enhance our knowledge of the Bembridge and, in general, European Tertiary insect world.

There is also a considerable progress in other important directions. The long, complicated and tedious process of the formal registration of our Society that is selflessly being carried by the team of Carsten Brauckmann is now really close to finality. I am eager to see the Society as formally registered and anchored, because only from that moment are we free to accept new members and to collect membership fees which will make possible to launch a Society newsletter as well as other projects aimed at supporting communication and co-operation in the field of palaeoentomology.

Equally, I am glad to inform you that work on organisation of the Third International Congress of Palaeoentomology in South Africa is progressing well. Denis Brothers has informed me that the dates are preliminarily set as February 7-11, 2005, although the venue is still a slight problem. Julian Petrulevicius and Dany Azar have decided that because of understandable reasons, The Second Palaeoarthropodological meeting will be held together with the Third Palaeoentomological Congress, and the Amber congress will be fused with the III IPC as its section on amber inclusions. So we shall have a really big meeting of interest to a broad range of scientists and amateurs.

There have also been numerous important palaeoentomological publications, research cooperation and collecting activities which are, unfortunately, difficult to outline until we have a live IPS website and newsletter. I hope that the former will appear soon. Indeed, we already have the active Russian palaeoentomological website with extensive English language version, which can serve as a model and a stepping stone. As to the newsletter, it needs financial support and so its birth depends on the Society membership.

In general, there has been a considerable progress in palaeoentomology during the past two years. At the same time, I cannot boast of high activity of the Acting Executive Committee of the Society that period. I am sorry to say this, but I hope that it will be different during the remaining year before the next meeting of the Society at the III IPC.

I take this opportunity to wish Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2004 to all of you.

Alexandr P. Rasnitsyn