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bioDISCOVERY: the TRY initiative is gaining recognition

The TRY initiative held at symposium on plant functional ecology and vegetation modelling at the INTECOL/BES congress, and on 19 August 2013, Sandra Diaz, SC DIVERSITAS member and TRY co-learder, gave a plenary lecture. The first week of September, the TRY initiative held its 5th workshop at iDIV, Leipzig, Germany.

Symposium at the INTECOL/BES congress, 19 August 2013

For the joint INTECOL/BES congress, held August 18 – 23, 2013, the TRY initiative organised a symposium dedicated to Plant functional ecology and vegetation modelling in a new data rich world. The symposium was co-organised by Jens Kattge (MPI-BGC), Sandra Diaz (Cordoba National University), Franziska Schrodt (MPI-BGC) and Cornelia Krug (bioDISCOVERY).

The symposium was split into two sessions, on dedicated to vegetation modelling, the other to plant trait ecology. Colin Prentice, Macquarie University, Australia, and Imperial College, London, UK, gave the key note, "Towards the next generation of dynamic global vegetation models" in the modelling section of the symposium, and Eric Garnier of CEFE, France, the key note lecture in the trait ecology section, titled "from plant traits to community functional structure and ecosystem properties".

Other speakers in the symposium were:

  • Peter Bodegom, VU University Amsterdam: Impacts of including trait variation on predictions of global carbon fluxes and vegetation distribution
  • Anna Harper, University of Exeter: First approaches to trait based model development in the context of the JULES DGVM
  • Michael Perring, The University of Western Australia: Incorporating trait variability into process-based models: the response of net primary production to environmental change
  • Kerstin Wiegand, University of Goettingen: Impact of life-history traits on metapopulations: applying Occam's razor
  • Freya Thomas, The University of Melbourne: Incorporating plant functional traits into a multi-species model of plant growth
  • Daniel Falster, Macquarie University: Growth trajectories: a new way of understanding the influence of traits on plant growth
  • Sandra Diaz, IMBIV, CONICET - Universidad Nacional de Cordoba: Towards a global spectrum of plant function
  • Mélanie Harzé, Gembloux ABT - University of Liège: Extent of intraspecific functional variability along a local environmental gradient of water stress
  • Richard Field, University of Nottingham: Community phylogenetics at the continental scale: cold tolerance, phylogenetic niche conservatism and the structure of North American forests
  • Nathan Swenson, Michigan State University: Mapping the distribution and diversity of plant height on continental scales using large trait and spatial datasets
  • Daniel Faith, The Australian Museum: Using databases of observed traits to infer more general trait patterns and produce useful indices based on functional trait diversity
  • Franziska Schrodt, Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry: Probabilistic matrix completion and spatial extrapolation in the context of plant functional trait databases

Plenary Lecture at the INTECOL/BES congress, 19 August 2013

The TRY initiative and TRY data base were further introduced to the congress participants through the plenary lecture by Sandra DIAZ, titled "Theophrastus in the tangled bank: searching for generality underpinning plant functional trait diversity". In this lecture, Sandra Diaz highlighted the contribution the TRY data base has made in providing extensive data enabling the search for generalities in plant responses to environmental gradients and environmental change.

5th Workshop of the TRY initiative, 3-5 September 2013 at iDIV in Leipzig

Following up on the congress, the TRY initiative held its 5th meeting at the German Integrative Centre for Biodiversity Research (iDIV) the 3 -5 September 2013. The meeting was the biggest meeting so far, with nearly a hundred participants.

The first day of the meeting was dedicated to the current state of the TRY data base, current research in projects using data from the TRY data base, and reports from other biodiversity data initiatives, such as GBIF, DataONE, LEDA and Fluxnet.

The second day was dedicated to discussions in working groups on:

  • Plant traits and vegetation modelling (Colin Prentice, Nicolas Viovy)
  • Plant trait prediction and gap-filling (Arindam Banerjee)
  • The global spectrum of plant function (Sandra Diaz, Sandra Lavorel)
  • Plant traits and phylogenetic analyses (William Pearse)
  • Next generation trait screening projects (Joe Craine)
  • Linking Plant traits to plot data (Oliver Purschke)
  • Tropical Forest Trait Group (Christopher Baratolo)

The third day of the meeting was spent refining the TRY initiative, especially in the light of making the data of the TRY data base "open access".

The agenda of the meeting is available here.

Short Workshop Report.

Detailed Workshop Report.

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