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Species traits databases

Species traits describe characteristics of species and are relevant to population dynamics across space and time. They affect ecosystem processes indirectly through abiotic control and directly through changes in biotic control (e.g. predators, pathogens). On the other hand, they are also affected by other species traits and environmental conditions which are highly sensitive to global change pressures, such as land use changes and climate change. Since species traits seem to play one of the most important roles in ecosystem processes and are thus highly relevant for conservation planning, it is inevitable to have overviews and compilations for different species available.

For that purpose, existing databases and review literature on species traits and, in the following, dispersal related traits, were compiled. This compilation also includes derived traits like functional traits, area requirements, and habitat selectivity to dispersal and functional connectivity. These data provide an excellent overview on species traits, which can be used for parameterizing model inputs, and will help to assess and visualize scaling effects across taxa and spatial scales. Databases for plants, insects, reptiles, and birds across Europe are either available online or upon author request.

The database BiolFlor contains almost 3660 plant species and more than 60 plant traits. Data collection result from several projects conducted in the Department of Community Ecology (UFZ - Centre for Environmental Research) over the last 10 years. Data were used to rework and enlarge a previously existing database. However, the work on BiolFlor will not be finished, yet. We will continuously try to improve the database, correct errors and expand the coverage of traits and their states.
Cavity-nesting Wasp and Bee Traits
The database includes original (mostly unpublished) and published data on functional traits of European wasp and bee species occurring in trap-nests for cavity-nesting Hymenoptera - the nesting species and their natural enemies. It currently contains data on 41 trait of 161 species from 10 families of Hymenoptera. The list includes morphological, ecological and behavioral traits related to the trophic links, reproduction and dispersal of the species. The trait states are either qualitative (categories) or quantitative (mean values); in the latter case they are grouped into 2-5 ordered classes. The database may be used in empirical studies using the field method of trap-nests for cavity-nesting Hymenoptera to extract the subsets of species with particular functional trait states and to assess the influence of the species traits on the factor effects under analysis.
Climatic niche characteristics of the butterflies in Europe) is a unique dataset on the climatic niche characteristics of 397 European butterflies representing 91% of the European species. These characteristics were obtained by combining detailed information on butterfly distributions in Europe and the corresponding climatic conditions. CLIMBER comprises information for the position and breadth of the following climatic niche characteristics: mean annual temperature, range in annual temperature, growing degree days, annual precipitation sum, range in annual precipitation and soil water content. The application potential of this database ranges from theoretical aspects such as assessments of past niche evolution or analyses of trait interdependencies to the very applied aspects of measuring, monitoring and projecting historical, ongoing and potential future responses to climate change using butterflies as an indicator.

Schweiger O, Harpke A, Wiemers M, Settele J (2014) CLIMBER: Climatic niche characteristics of the butterflies in Europe. ZooKeys 367: 65-84. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.367.6185 Resource ID: GBIF key: http://www.gbif.org/dataset/e2bcea8c-dfea-475e-a4ae-af282b4ea1c5

Dispersal database
The dispersal database is a relational database containing information about dispersal of animals from different taxa. In several tables connected either in 1:1, 1:n or m:n relations the authors compiled raw data, descriptive statistical parameters of dispersal kernels, fitting mathematical functions including their parameters to describe the shape of the kernels, methodological details, basic information about the study site landscape as well as metadata allowing categorization and full backtracking of all important information from authorized references in published literature, technical reports or theses. The database is easily extendable not only in terms of data from additional species/studies but also in terms of additional parameters not considered until now. Among others, it might be useful for comprehensive analyses and comparisons over taxa, analyses regarding dependencies of results from methodological details or as an easily accessible source if you need detailed information about dispersal related parameters as input for further analyses in the field of landscape ecology or spatial explicit modelling.
European amphibian life-history traits database
Amphibians are highly threatened worldwide. They are composed by more than 7400 species constituting one of the most species-rich vertebrate groups. The collection of information on life history traits is difficult due to the ecology of species and remoteness of their habitats. We compiled data on amphibian life history traits from literature in an extensive database with morphological and behavioral traits, habitat preferences and movement abilities for 86 European amphibian species (50 Anuran and 36 Urodela species). When it was available, we reported data for males, females, juveniles and tadpoles. Our database may serve as an important starting point for further analyses regarding amphibian conservation.
European Bird Traits Database
The database contains data about 90 functional traits for each of 495 European bird species. Traits cover different groups of traits as morphological traits (wing size, bill size, weight etc.), reproductive traits (clutch size, number of broods, egg mass, length of incubation etc.) or traits relating to food or habitat preferences. It can be used for various analyses which deal with avian traits. Data are available on request only.
European Butterfly Trait Database
The LEDA trait base is a data base on traits of the North-West European flora that describes three key features of plant dynamics: persistence, regeneration and dispersal. The data stems from published literature and existing data bases as well as project internal measurements. In its current form, the trait data is not queryable but the raw data for each trait is stored on the website in downloadable text files. The data contained in LEDA has also been transferred to the TRY data base initiative (www.try-db.org).
Minimum Area Requirements of species
We complied a comprehensive database of MAR estimates from the literature, covering 216 terrestrial animal species from 80 studies. Estimates originate from a) Population Viability Analyses (PVAs) which explored a range of area-related scenarios, b) PVAs that provided a fixed value – either MAR or the minimum viable population size (MVP) alongside other area-relevant information, and c) empirical studies of occupancy patterns in islands or isolated habitat patches across area. A few hundreds of additional estimates, using simpler approaches, are available as well. The full database will be available for download soon.
Plant dispersal distances and traits
In this database, available maximum dispersal distance data for plant species were collected summing up to 576 plant species in total. Plant trait data were comprised from original studies or databases and were related to maximum dispersal distances. This database can be used for simple plant traits but it also provides the basis for modelling approaches. It is especially useful for maximum dispersal distance analyses.
Population Viability Analyses database
We compiled a large database of published Population Viability Analyses (PVA), aiming to promote generalizations through meta-analyses or (re)parameterization of models. The database focuses on terrestrial animals, and summarises 260 parameters from 78 published PVA studies. These include metadata; information on model design and parameter values, including those related to life history, population growth, population structure, landscape attributes, dispersal patterns, and sources of stochasticity; and qualitative and quantitative results of simulations and sensitivity analyses.
Reptile Trait Database
The relational reptile trait database contains 147 European reptile species. Data were compiled through literature surveys, expert interviews, and conference presentations. We included published data exclusively. The database covers whole Europe and the adjacent Asian and African countries. Traits can be categorised to five main points: activity, phenology (hibernation, aestivation, and breeding), dispersal, age at sexual maturity, and individual measurements (separated by life stage and sex). To secure that data acquisition was standardised, we defined trait data specifically before we started collecting data. Thus our data can be used for comparisons between species and within species per countries as well as directly for meta-analyses and modelling. The database is open access; however, raw data are available on request only.
Traits database of European Bees
The Bee Traits Database was built and developed with ALARM funding, and has been maintained under STEP. All European bee taxa are covered, and traits are available for most of the species. The key traits involve those associated with sociality, flight period and voltinism, forage and habitat specialisation, nesting traits, tongue length, and ITD measurements (which can serve as a proxy for foraging range). Not all species have full traits data as many bee species are poorly known and are data deficient. Access is available to researchers on application to the database holder and this will include an agreement on the terms and conditions of use.

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CONDITIONS OF USE: We explicitly encourage the use of SCALETOOL. SCALETOOL is freely available for non-commercial use provided you acknowledge SCALES as source. For more extensive access to databases (e.g. for statistical analyses or if you want to contribute data), tools, or background material, please contact the SCALES coordinator (send us email).


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