AusTraits is an open-source, harmonized database of Australian plant trait data. It synthesises data on 448 traits across 28640 taxa from field campaigns, published literature, taxonomic monographs, and individual taxon descriptions. Begun in 2016 as an initiative between three lab groups, it has grown to be the largest collation of plant trait data for Australian plants.
AusTraits integrates plant trait data collected by researchers from diverse disciplines, including functional plant biology, plant physiology, plant taxonomy, and conservation biology. By harmonizing and error checking values, linking all AusTraits data entries to detailed metadata, and documenting trait and trait values definitions, AusTraits is a resource researchers can trust and use for their research agendas with minimal additional filtering or manipulations.
An AusTraits data paper was recently published in Scientific Data and is available at: 10.1038/s41597-021-01006-6.
A compiled version of AusTraits is available for download on . As detailed on Zenodo, AusTraits has been released under an open source licence (CC-BY), enabling re-use by the community.
An R package accompanies the public release of AusTraits. This package allows the seamless download of AusTraits and includes a selection of functions that facilitate the exploration and use of AusTraits. Visit to access and learn more about this resource.
AusTraits is a relational database, with 11 elements, jointly storing the trait data, study metadata, and information about the AusTraits structure and build. Visualisations of these elements and the linkages between them are to orient AusTraits users. Further information on AusTraits is available on the project’s , including vignettes on and .
From 2021-2023 we are funded by a Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) grant through their Australian Data Partnerships program. The , together with co-investment from our 19 partner institutions, will expand AusTraits' data coverage and enhance data quality, allowing AusTraits to emerge as a national data asset. The AusTraits and broader are jointly working on a collection of work packages to achieve this goal.
To contribute trait data to AusTraits, please us. Briefly, we require your data contribution as a spreadsheet in conjunction with accompanying metadata.
A offers a detailed glance at the data entry process, with introductory sections on ideal submission formats near the top of the article.
We also accept any legacy datasets, either from your archives or transcribed from published data sources.
The AusTraits team will be leading a series of workshops over the coming two years to review and more fully document trait definitions and allowable trait values (terms for categorical variables and ranges for continuous variables) used to build AusTraits. Our first will review trait definitions associated with seeds and germination.
The AusTraits team is in the process of developing a project API. Once completed, the database will be accessable by querying the API or through biodiversity portals. Coming in 2022.
Our core AusTraits team is supported in maintaining, expanding, and enhancing AusTraits by a team of ARDC project grant partners. The creation of the AusTraits database was only possible because of the researchers who contributed data to this endeavor.
Below are some recent publications using AusTraits. You can access a full list of publications via AusTraits on Google Scholar.