Aarhus University Seal

Tundra Trait Team : A database of plant traits spanning the tundra biome

New publication by Bjorkman, Anne D.; Myers-Smith, Isla H.; Elmendorf, Sarah C.; Normand, Signe; Thomas, Haydn J.D.; Alatalo, Juha M.; Alexander, Heather; Anadon-Rosell, Alba; Angers-Blondin, Sandra; Bai, Yang; Baruah, Gaurav; te Beest, Mariska; Berner, Logan; Björk, Robert G.; Blok, Daan; Bruelheide, Helge; Buchwal, Agata; Buras, Allan; Carbognani, Michele; Christie, Katherine; Collier, Laura S.; Cooper, Elisabeth J.; Cornelissen, J. Hans C.; Dickinson, Katharine J.M.; Dullinger, Stefan; Elberling, Bo; Eskelinen, Anu; Forbes, Bruce C.; Frei, Esther R.; Iturrate-Garcia, Maitane; Good, Megan K.; Grau, Oriol; Green, Peter; Greve, Michelle; Grogan, Paul; Haider, Sylvia; Hájek, Tomáš; Hallinger, Martin; Happonen, Konsta; Harper, Karen A.; Heijmans, Monique M.P.D.; Henry, Gregory H.R.; Hermanutz, Luise; Hewitt, Rebecca E.; Hollister, Robert D.; Hudson, James; Hülber, Karl; Iversen, Colleen M.; Jaroszynska, Francesca; Jiménez-Alfaro, Borja; Johnstone, Jill; Jorgensen, Rasmus Halfdan; Kaarlejärvi, Elina; Klady, Rebecca; Klimešová, Jitka; Korsten, Annika; Kuleza, Sara; Kulonen, Aino; Lamarque, Laurent J.; Lantz, Trevor; Lavalle, Amanda; Lembrechts, Jonas J.; Lévesque, Esther; Little, Chelsea J.; Luoto, Miska; Macek, Petr; Mack, Michelle C.; Mathakutha, Rabia; Michelsen, Anders; Milbau, Ann; Molau, Ulf; Morgan, John W.; Mörsdorf, Martin Alfons; Nabe-Nielsen, Jacob; Nielsen, Sigrid Schøler; Ninot, Josep M.; Oberbauer, Steven F.; Olofsson, Johan; Onipchenko, Vladimir G.; Petraglia, Alessandro; Pickering, Catherine; Prevéy, Janet S.; Rixen, Christian; Rumpf, Sabine B.; Schaepman-Strub, Gabriela; Semenchuk, Philipp; Shetti, Rohan; Soudzilovskaia, Nadejda A.; Spasojevic, Marko J.; Speed, James David Mervyn; Street, Lorna E.; Suding, Katharine; Tape, Ken D.; Tomaselli, Marcello; Trant, Andrew; Treier, Urs A.; Tremblay, Jean Pierre; Tremblay, Maxime; Venn, Susanna; Virkkala, Anna Maria; Vowles, Tage; Weijers, Stef; Wilmking, Martin; Wipf, Sonja; Zamin, Tara.




The Tundra Trait Team (TTT) database includes field‐based measurements of key traits related to plant form and function at multiple sites across the tundra biome. This dataset can be used to address theoretical questions about plant strategy and trade‐offs, trait–environment relationships and environmental filtering, and trait variation across spatial scales, to validate satellite data, and to inform Earth system model parameters.

Main types of variable contained

The database contains 91,970 measurements of 18 plant traits. The most frequently measured traits (> 1,000 observations each) include plant height, leaf area, specific leaf area, leaf fresh and dry mass, leaf dry matter content, leaf nitrogen, carbon and phosphorus content, leaf C:N and N:P, seed mass, and stem specific density.

Spatial location and grain

Measurements were collected in tundra habitats in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, including Arctic sites in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Fennoscandia and Siberia, alpine sites in the European Alps, Colorado Rockies, Caucasus, Ural Mountains, Pyrenees, Australian Alps, and Central Otago Mountains (New Zealand), and sub‐Antarctic Marion Island. More than 99% of observations are georeferenced.

Time period and grain

All data were collected between 1964 and 2018. A small number of sites have repeated trait measurements at two or more time periods.

Major taxa and level of measurement

Trait measurements were made on 978 terrestrial vascular plant species growing in tundra habitats. Most observations are on individuals (86%), while the remainder represent plot or site means or maximums per species.

Software format

csv file and GitHub repository with data cleaning scripts in R; contribution to TRY plant trait database (www.try-db.org) to be included in the next version release.