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Journal Article

A generic structure for plant trait databases

MPS-Authors
http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons62433

Kattge,  J.
TRY: Global Initiative on Plant Traits, Dr. J. Kattge, Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. S. E. Trumbore, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons62339

Bönisch,  G.
TRY: Global Initiative on Plant Traits, Dr. J. Kattge, Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. S. E. Trumbore, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;
Research Group Biogeochemical Model-data Integration, Dr. M. Reichstein, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons62501

Nöllert,  S.
Research Group Organismic Biogeochemistry, Dr. C. Wirth, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons62606

Wirth,  C.
Research Group Organismic Biogeochemistry, Dr. C. Wirth, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Kattge, J., Ogle, K., Bönisch, G., Díaz, S., Lavorel, S., Madin, J., et al. (2011). A generic structure for plant trait databases. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 2(2), 202-213. doi:10.1111/j.2041-210X.2010.00067.x.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-DBDE-5
Abstract
P>1. Plant traits are fundamental for understanding and predicting vegetation responses to global changes, and they provide a promising basis towards a more quantitative and predictive approach to ecology. As a consequence, information on plant traits is rapidly accumulating, and there is a growing need for efficient database tools that enable the assembly and synthesis of trait data. 2. Plant traits are highly heterogeneous, exhibit a low degree of standardization and are linked and interdependent at various levels of biological organization: tissue, organ, plant and population. Therefore, they often require ancillary data for interpretation, including descriptors of the biotic and abiotic environment, methods and taxonomic relationships. 3. We introduce a generic database structure that is tailored to accommodate plant trait complexity and is consistent with current theoretical approaches to characterize the structure of observational data. The over-arching utility of the proposed database structure is illustrated based on two independent plant trait database projects. 4. The generic database structure proposed here is meant to serve as a flexible blueprint for future plant trait databases, improving data discovery, and ensuring compatibility among them.