Study provides framework to measure animal and plant traits for sustainability goals | 11/15/2018 | Staff
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Researchers have outlined a plan to detect and report changes in global biodiversity. The monitoring of species traits will improve natural resource management.

Biological diversity is crucial for ecosystem functioning and the provision of its services. When the impact of climate change, habitat loss and similar threats on biodiversity are taken into consideration, analysing the responses of animals and plants plays a key role in conservation and sustainability policies.

Challenge - Team - Researchers - GLOBIS-B - Project

To address this challenge, an international team of researchers partially supported by the EU-funded GLOBIS-B project has developed a roadmap for creating biodiversity data products. Writing in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, the team proposed a refined set of species traits to be incorporated in essential biodiversity variables (EBVs). These are used to monitor how organisms respond to global change. As explained in the paper, EBVs enable the observation and reporting of global biodiversity change, "but a detailed framework for the empirical derivation of specific EBVs has yet to be developed."

Quoted in a news release by the University of Amsterdam, lead author W. Daniel Kissling said the study provides "a conceptual framework with practical guidelines for building global, integrated and reusable EBV data products of species traits." He added: "This facilitates the monitoring of intra-specific trait changes in response to global change and human pressures, with the aim to use species trait information in national and international policy assessments."

Research - Outcome - Workshop - GLOBIS-B - Project

The research is the outcome of a workshop organised by the GLOBIS-B project that ended in mid-2018. During the workshop, scientific experts discussed the requirements for developing the EBV class species traits. According to the team's suggestions, these could include characteristics related to phenology (timing of periodic biological events), morphology (form and structure of organisms), physiology, reproduction and movement...
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