Tundra Plant Trait Database

Date Published
Worldwide trait database addresses long-standing questions about trait-environment relationships and provides an unprecedented digital resource to inform Earth system models.
  • Greatly expand the representation of root structural and functional traits in global data repositories and the insights they provide to models.
New Science
  • Data compiled for tundra ecosystems from around the world and more than 91,000 measurements of 18 plant traits analyzed.
  • Complements other databases (e.g., TRY) and adds new data from high-latitude ecosystems where cold temperatures shape function at gene to ecosystem scales.
  • A rich digital resource that confirms that tundra plants, compared to other lifeforms, do indeed exhibit unique trait relationships (e.g., resource acquisition) resulting from adaptation to extreme environmental conditions.
Image with caption

Hypothesized location of tundra trait space within global trait space.


Bjorkman, AD, IH Myers‐Smith, SC Elmendorf, S Normand, HJ Thomas, JM Alatalo, H Alexander, A Anadon‐Rosell, S Angers‐Blondin, Y Bai, and G Baruah. 2018. Tundra Trait Team: A database of plant traits spanning the tundra biome. Global Ecology and Biogeography 27:1402-1411. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12821


This research was supported by the Director, Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research of the US Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 as part of the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE Arctic) project.

For more information, please contact:

Colleen Iversen