TRY - a global database of plant traits

J. Kattge, S. Díaz, S. Lavorel, I. C. Prentice, P. Leadley, G. Bönisch, E. Garnier, M. Westoby, P. B. Reich, I. J. Wright, J. H C Cornelissen, C. Violle, S. P. Harrison, P. M. Van Bodegom, M. Reichstein, B. J. Enquist, N. A. Soudzilovskaia, D. D. Ackerly, M. Anand, O. AtkinM. Bahn, T. R. Baker, D. Baldocchi, R. Bekker, C. C. Blanco, Benjamin Blonder, W. J. Bond, R. Bradstock, D. E. Bunker, F. Casanoves, J. Cavender-Bares, J. Q. Chambers, F. S. Chapin, J. Chave, D. Coomes, W. K. Cornwell, J. M. Craine, B. H. Dobrin, L. Duarte, W. Durka, James Elser, G. Esser, M. Estiarte, W. F. Fagan, J. Fang, F. Fernández-Méndez, A. Fidelis, B. Finegan, O. Flores, H. Ford, D. Frank, G. T. Freschet, N. M. Fyllas, R. V. Gallagher, W. A. Green, A. G. Gutierrez, T. Hickler, S. I. Higgins, J. G. Hodgson, A. Jalili, S. Jansen, C. A. Joly, A. J. Kerkhoff, D. Kirkup, K. Kitajima, M. Kleyer, S. Klotz, J. M H Knops, K. Kramer, I. Kühn, H. Kurokawa, D. Laughlin, T. D. Lee, M. Leishman, F. Lens, T. Lenz, S. L. Lewis, J. Lloyd, J. Llusià, F. Louault, S. Ma, M. D. Mahecha, P. Manning, T. Massad, B. E. Medlyn, J. Messier, A. T. Moles, S. C. Müller, K. Nadrowski, S. Naeem, Ü Niinemets, S. Nöllert, A. Nüske, R. Ogaya, J. Oleksyn, V. G. Onipchenko, Y. Onoda, J. Ordoñez, G. Overbeck, W. A. Ozinga, S. Patiño, S. Paula, J. G. Pausas, J. Peñuelas, O. L. Phillips, V. Pillar, H. Poorter, L. Poorter, P. Poschlod, A. Prinzing, R. Proulx, A. Rammig, S. Reinsch, B. Reu, L. Sack, B. Salgado-Negret, J. Sardans, S. Shiodera, B. Shipley, A. Siefert, E. Sosinski, J. F. Soussana, E. Swaine, N. Swenson, K. Thompson, P. Thornton, M. Waldram, E. Weiher, M. White, S. White, S. J. Wright, B. Yguel, S. Zaehle, A. E. Zanne, C. Wirth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1366 Scopus citations

Abstract

Plant traits - the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological characteristics of plants and their organs - determine how primary producers respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic levels, influence ecosystem processes and services and provide a link from species richness to ecosystem functional diversity. Trait data thus represent the raw material for a wide range of research from evolutionary biology, community and functional ecology to biogeography. Here we present the global database initiative named TRY, which has united a wide range of the plant trait research community worldwide and gained an unprecedented buy-in of trait data: so far 93 trait databases have been contributed. The data repository currently contains almost three million trait entries for 69000 out of the world's 300000 plant species, with a focus on 52 groups of traits characterizing the vegetative and regeneration stages of the plant life cycle, including growth, dispersal, establishment and persistence. A first data analysis shows that most plant traits are approximately log-normally distributed, with widely differing ranges of variation across traits. Most trait variation is between species (interspecific), but significant intraspecific variation is also documented, up to 40% of the overall variation. Plant functional types (PFTs), as commonly used in vegetation models, capture a substantial fraction of the observed variation - but for several traits most variation occurs within PFTs, up to 75% of the overall variation. In the context of vegetation models these traits would better be represented by state variables rather than fixed parameter values. The improved availability of plant trait data in the unified global database is expected to support a paradigm shift from species to trait-based ecology, offer new opportunities for synthetic plant trait research and enable a more realistic and empirically grounded representation of terrestrial vegetation in Earth system models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2905-2935
Number of pages31
JournalGlobal change biology
Volume17
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011

Keywords

  • Comparative ecology
  • Database
  • Environmental gradient
  • Functional diversity
  • Global analysis
  • Global change
  • Interspecific variation
  • Intraspecific variation
  • Plant attribute
  • Plant functional type
  • Plant trait
  • Vegetation model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'TRY - a global database of plant traits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Kattge, J., Díaz, S., Lavorel, S., Prentice, I. C., Leadley, P., Bönisch, G., Garnier, E., Westoby, M., Reich, P. B., Wright, I. J., Cornelissen, J. H. C., Violle, C., Harrison, S. P., Van Bodegom, P. M., Reichstein, M., Enquist, B. J., Soudzilovskaia, N. A., Ackerly, D. D., Anand, M., ... Wirth, C. (2011). TRY - a global database of plant traits. Global change biology, 17(9), 2905-2935. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02451.x