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Refining Plant Functional Classifications for Earth System Modelling

Activities within TRY contribute to Focus 3 of the bioDISCOVERY scientific strategy - improving biodiversity predictions. The TRY iniative was started to bridge the gap between knowledge and modelling by establishing a plant trait data base, and making the data collated available to researchers (download the intellectual property guidelines here). The main objectives of TRY are to construct a global database of plant functional traits, to make the data available for the ecological community, and to support the design of a new generation of global vegetation models. This effort is strongly tied to the BBS initiative.

Currently, 372 researchers worldwide are part of the network, more than 3 million trait records for about 69000 plant species have been compiled, and more than 200 projects are using data from the TRY data base. Projects using the TRY data base range from determining patterns of trait distribution; analysing trait changes along gradients; modelling biogeochemical cycles or populations; and developing dynamic global vegetation models (DGVM).

The very active initative held a series of workshops. The first one (2007, Alicante, Spain) focused on the establishment of a core traits list, which became the basis for the TRY data base. More information. The second workshop (2008, Paris, France) was dedicated to structuring the TRY data base; initiating data-model integration activities; and developing the intellectual property guidelines (Workshop report). The third meeting (Oct. 2009, Cape Town, S-Africa) was jointly organised with the BBS initiative. Foci of this meeting were the expansion and application of the TRY data base (Workshop report). The fourth meeting (25-26 March 2011, Paris, France) examined the advancement of TRY; identified future needs; and fostered the development of new research proposals based on TRY data. The full workshop report can be accessed here.

The fifth meeting of the initiative took place September 3-5, 2013, at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDIV) in Leipzig. Nearly 100 researchers from 22 countries participated in the workshop. The agenda for the workshop is available here, a full report will be available shortly.

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