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U of M researchers contribute to global plant database, expanding ecosystems research
Date:6/29/2011

of plant functional types, such as grasses or evergreen trees, but these do not capture most of the observed variation in plant traits," said Christian Wirth, professor of plant ecology at the University of Leipzig, one of the initiators of the project.

In contrast, the new database gives trait information for individual plant speciesnot just typesaround the globe. By using it, scientists now will be able to build more realistic models of terrestrial biodiversity.

Reich says the data and the relationships among traits in the database "will revolutionize the biological underpinnings of Earth systems models, and will help us improve our ability to predict the future carbon cycle and climate change, and suggest mitigation strategies. We, and others, are already incorporating these data into large-scale models of Earth's biological function. In fact, a new initiative co-funded by the U of M's Institute on the Environment and the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry is aiming to do just that."


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Contact: Jeff Falk
jfalk@umn.edu
612-626-1720
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

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