Chapter

TraitNet: furthering biodiversity research through the curation, discovery, and sharing of species trait data

Shahid Naeem and Daniel E. Bunker

in Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning, and Human Wellbeing

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780199547951
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720345 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199547951.003.0020
 TraitNet: furthering biodiversity research through the curation, discovery, and sharing of species trait data

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Functional diversity plays a central role in understanding and predicting the effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning precisely because functional traits are the means by which species perform ecosystem functions. While species diversity is easily quantified, functional trait data are often lacking. This chapter describes TraitNet, a US NSF-funded Research Coordination Network dedicated to the advancement of trait-based evolutionary and ecological research. TraitNet's five primary goals are: (1) identify core hypotheses in trait-based research, (2) identify critical data gaps, (3) standardize the collection and curation of trait data, (4) build a model trait database, and (5) facilitate the development of cross-disciplinary ecoinformatic tools for curating and sharing trait data. This coordinated effort will usher in a new era in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning research that will complement existing experimental approaches and provide means for scaling results from individuals to ecosystems.

Keywords: diversity; biodiversity; functional diversity; trait; ecoinformatics; research network

Chapter.  4224 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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