A generic structure for plant trait databases

Jens Kattge, Kiona Ogle, Gerhard Bönisch, Sandra Díaz, Sandra Lavorel, Joshua Madin, Karin Nadrowski, Stephanie Nöllert, Karla Sartor, Christian Wirth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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. 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. 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. 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-213
Number of pages12
JournalMethods in Ecology and Evolution
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

arching
plant organs
global change
standardization
ecology
vegetation
synthesis
methodology
tissues
need
organ
method
tissue
abiotic environment
project

Keywords

  • Ancillary data
  • Bio-informatics
  • Covariates
  • Dimensional data model
  • Eco-informatics
  • Functional biodiversity
  • Hierarchical data structure
  • Relational database
  • Star-scheme

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecological Modeling

Cite this

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

A generic structure for plant trait databases. / Kattge, Jens; Ogle, Kiona; Bönisch, Gerhard; Díaz, Sandra; Lavorel, Sandra; Madin, Joshua; Nadrowski, Karin; Nöllert, Stephanie; Sartor, Karla; Wirth, Christian.

In: Methods in Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 2, No. 2, 04.2011, p. 202-213.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kattge, J, Ogle, K, Bönisch, G, Díaz, S, Lavorel, S, Madin, J, Nadrowski, K, Nöllert, S, Sartor, K & Wirth, C 2011, 'A generic structure for plant trait databases', Methods in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 202-213. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2041-210X.2010.00067.x
Kattge J, Ogle K, Bönisch G, Díaz S, Lavorel S, Madin J et al. A generic structure for plant trait databases. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 2011 Apr;2(2):202-213. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2041-210X.2010.00067.x
Kattge, Jens ; Ogle, Kiona ; Bönisch, Gerhard ; Díaz, Sandra ; Lavorel, Sandra ; Madin, Joshua ; Nadrowski, Karin ; Nöllert, Stephanie ; Sartor, Karla ; Wirth, Christian. / A generic structure for plant trait databases. In: Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 2011 ; Vol. 2, No. 2. pp. 202-213.
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