The Coral Trait Database, a curated database of trait information for coral species from the global oceans

Madin, Josh and Anderson, Kristen and Heide Andreasson, Magnus and Bridge, Tom and Cairns, Stephen and Connolly, Sean R. and Darling, Emily S. and Diaz, Marcela and Falster, Daniel and Franklin, Erik and Gates, Ruth and Hoogenboom, Mia O. and Huang, Danwei and Keith, Sal and Kosnik, Matthew and Kuo, Chao-Yang and Lough, Janice and Lovelock, Catherine and Luiz, Osmar and Martinelli, Julieta and Mizerek, Toni and Pandolfi, John and Pochon, Xavier and Pratchett, Morgan Stuart and Putnam, Hollie and Roberts, T. Edward and Stat, Michael and Wallace, Carden and Widman, Elizabeth and Baird, Andrew H. (2016) The Coral Trait Database, a curated database of trait information for coral species from the global oceans. Scientific Data, 3. ISSN 2052-4463

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Trait-based approaches advance ecological and evolutionary research because traits provide a strong link to an organism’s function and fitness. Trait-based research might lead to a deeper understanding of the functions of, and services provided by, ecosystems, thereby improving management, which is vital in the current era of rapid environmental change. Coral reef scientists have long collected trait data for corals; however, these are difficult to access and often under-utilized in addressing large-scale questions. We present the Coral Trait Database initiative that aims to bring together physiological, morphological, ecological, phylogenetic and biogeographic trait information into a single repository. The database houses species- and individual-level data from published field and experimental studies alongside contextual data that provide important framing for analyses. In this data descriptor, we release data for 56 traits for 1547 species, and present a collaborative platform on which other trait data are being actively federated. Our overall goal is for the Coral Trait Database to become an open-source, community-led data clearinghouse that accelerates coral reef research.

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Journal Article
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Scientific Data
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24 Mar 2017 11:18
Last Modified:
17 Sep 2023 02:04