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Core traits

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Core traits

The Ecological Flora project will be built around a set of core traits selected on two criteria: ease of measurement and ecological relevance. Some of these traits are qualitative attributes that can be easily scored from expert knowledge (e.g., simple vs. compound leaves) while others are quantitative attributes based on standard protocols (e.g., specific leaf area). Our goal is to acheive a very high level of coverage for the core traits so that users can count on obtaining data on these characteristics for most or all species of interest. We have also developed a longer list of qualitative and quantitative traits that are of broad interest but require more detailed knowledge or measurements to obtain (the extended trait list). Feedback on the proposed core and extended traits list is welcome.

The development of our proposed list of core traits builds on several recent contributions towards plant ecological databases, including:

The current drafts of the traits table and the state list for nominal and ordered traits may be viewed by clicking on the links below. Note: these pages are best viewed by reducing the font size in your browser (if there is overlap between columns) or cutting and pasting into a spreadsheet.

Draft core trait list
Table columns:

  • class: core = core qualitative traits; ext = extended set of qualitative and quantitative traits; Repos = non-core traits added to the list as new sources are incorporated in the database (= repository).
  • group: traits grouped into vegetative, reproductive, etc.
  • trait: trait name
  • id: trait id number
  • type: nomimal, ordered, continuous, circular continuous (i.e., months of year)
  • n.states: number of states for nominal and ordered traits
  • units: units for continuous traits
  • source: reference for definition or utility of trait (full bibliography has not been posted online yet)
  • definition: extended definition of trait

Draft state list for nominal and ordered traits
Table columns:

  • id of trait from traits table
  • trait: trait name
  • id of state for each trait
  • dstate: state name ('dstate' = 'discrete state' to distinguish from geographic states)

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