Species traits are defined as qualities of all organisms of a species, like body mass, length or height. Due to intraspecific variation different organisms of a species have different trait values, e.g. different body masses, but together they define a distribution, which is characteristic for each species. The dynamics of species traits, i.e. changes of these trait distributions in time, provide key information about species responses to changing environmental conditions and serve as early warning stress indicators. The Species Traits WG focuses on identifying, characterizing and monitoring relevant species traits, and how they are changing in time.

About Species Traits WG
Mark Costello
Mark Costello
University of Auckland
Jens Kattge
Jens Kattge
Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
Key objectives
  • Advance the integration of species traits data through development of standards, models, and infrastructure.
  • Identify and agree on a set of Species Traits suitable for EBVs.
  • Support the generation of identified EBVs and make them accessible.
  • Document key data and knowledge gaps and develop mechanisms to support the community in mobilizing data to help close them.
  • Support the development of example applications species traits EBVs for policy and management across local to national and global scales.
How you can participate

Join GEO BON through https://members.geobon.org when doing so, note your interest in the Species Traits WG. Also, please let us know of any relevant (traits) web sites, resources, and publications that would interest the group; and any activities you would particularly like to be involved in. If you publish work that contributes to this WG activities, please note it as a contribution to GEO BON in its Acknowledgements, and then we can promote it as a WG output through the GEO BON network.

  • Advance the integration of species traits data through development of standards, models, and infrastructure.
  • Identifying key traits for different species groups.
  • Development and consolidation of measurement protocols for key traits.
  • Identifying species traits suitable for EBVs.
  • Support development of EBV ‘plant phenology’.
  • Evaluate potential of remote sensing for species traits EBVs.
Data Products
Documents & Publications

Kissling, W. Daniel, Ramona Walls, Anne Bowser, Matthew O. Jones, Jens Kattge, Donat Agosti, Josep Amengual, et al. 2018. “Towards global data products of Essential Biodiversity Variables on species traits”. Nature Ecology & Evolution. Download as PDF | doi.org/10.1038/s41559-018-0667-3