Plant Data Synthesis

Integration of ecosystem science data can help us understand Earth’s biological resources and boost efforts to maintain biodiversity, help regulate atmospheric CO2 levels by enhancing carbon sinks and limiting carbon sources, and promote other ecosystem services.

This project brings together scientists from multiple institutions to integrate the wealth of plant trait data that exists around the world. Researchers will address problems in data base management, data mining and statistics, ecological scaling, biodiversity science, ecological extrapolation, and global carbon cycle modeling to create an integrated data base of plant information.

Complementary research initiatives will:

  1. create the world’s largest and most comprehensive plant trait data base and researcher network;
  2. support ongoing demographic, chemical, and ecosystem studies of forest diversity, community dynamics and biomass pools;
  3. bring together data from long-term ecological research sites across North America; and
  4. establish an interactive network linking leading ecosystem modelers with leading global change ecophysiologists.

Year 1 Progress Report (January 2012)

Researchers have been synthesizing data to improve understanding of the causes and consequences of variations in plant traits and biodiversity at local to global scales. Through extensive collaboration and close relationships with partners, team members published nine papers related to their work on plant leaf minerals, a global database of plant traits, forest productivity, the link between biodiversity and ecosystem services, and more. The team plans to increase postdoctoral involvement in 2012 and expand work related to tropical forest community assembly and dynamics, and global plant trait patterns and processes.


Project Leads