WG 3 – Ecological Traits

WG 3 – Ecological Traits


Mickaël Hedde
UMR Eco & Sols, INRA Montpellier, France

Anton Potapov 
Institute of Ecology and Evolution RAS, Moscow, Russia 
and University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany 


Soil biodiversity’s contribution to ecosystem services can be derived from species’ functional traits. A main goal for a future data warehouse is to query, map and assess functional biodiversity derived from trait information of species for which occurrence data is available. A number of Action participants as well as national and international trait databases maintain species’ trait information. A main goal of WG3 is to assess, harmonise and collate available trait data for use in the data warehouse.

WG3 will retrieve trait data from existing databases hosted by Action participants, expanding them where possible. A main task is to harmonise trait data and create a consensus on nomenclature and units, paying careful attention to what has already been learned by leading experts when establishing their own databases and evaluating trait data. Available thesauri for trait data will be brought together, assessed and where necessary expanded and amended.

To map and assess functional biodiversity, a data warehouse must link traits to species, which are linked to field-level biodiversity data. The data-warehouse platform foreseen for the Action is currently developing the software routines to link trait-data to species and to aggregate species occurrence data based on trait information, which can then be used for evaluation and assessment routines. WG3 will evaluate these software modules and produce guidance for further development of software-based biodiversity evaluation and assessment based on trait data. WG3 will work together with WG5 to ensure that the trait data being collated are relevant to the needs of end users. 

Identified trait datasets for relevant species will be exemplarily added to the data warehouse platform to test software routines. WG3 will thereby identify soil organisms possessing key functional traits that can indicate soil ecosystem services, while simultaneously being responsive to drivers of environmental change in different habitats.

Intended Outcomes

(1) A comprehensive catalogue of trait data associated with soil-dwelling species will be provided. (2) Guidelines for how trait data can be directly linked to species in a data warehouse, including how such data is indirectly linked to sites of occurrence, will be developed. (9) Guidelines for how trait data can be made available for query and analysis in the data warehouse and used for assessment tools will be offered.