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

Anne D. Bjorkman*, Isla H. Myers-Smith, Sarah C. Elmendorf, Signe Normand, Haydn J.D. Thomas, Juha M. Alatalo, Heather Alexander, Alba Anadon-Rosell, Sandra Angers-Blondin, Yang Bai, Gaurav Baruah, Mariska te Beest, Logan Berner, Robert G. Björk, Daan Blok, Helge Bruelheide, Agata Buchwal, Allan Buras, Michele Carbognani, Katherine ChristieLaura S. Collier, Elisabeth J. Cooper, J.H.C. Cornelissen, Katharine J.M. Dickinson, Stefan Dullinger, Bo Elberling, Anu Eskelinen, Bruce C. Forbes, Esther R. Frei, Maitane Iturrate-Garcia, Megan K. Good, Oriol Grau, Peter Green, Michelle Greve, Paul Grogan, Sylvia Haider, Tomáš Hájek, Martin Hallinger, Konsta Happonen, Karen A. Harper, Monique M.P.D. Heijmans, Gregory H.R. Henry, Luise Hermanutz, Rebecca E. Hewitt, Robert D. Hollister, James Hudson, Karl Hülber, Colleen M. Iversen, Francesca Jaroszynska, Borja Jiménez-Alfaro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Motivation: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1402-1411
JournalGlobal Ecology and Biogeography
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2018


  • alpine
  • Arctic
  • plant functional traits
  • tundra


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