Session: Communities: Traits And Functional Diversity 3
Frugivoria: An open trait database of birds and mammals exhibiting frugivory in the montane Neotropics
Monday, August 2, 2021
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Beth E. Gerstner, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife & Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior Program, Michigan State University, Lansing, MI, Patrick Bills, Michigan State University and Phoebe Zarnetske, Department of Integrative Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Beth E. Gerstner
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife & Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior Program, Michigan State University Lansing, Michigan, United States
Background/Question/Methods: Biodiversity conservation has traditionally focused on areas with high taxonomic diversity; however, conserving areas with high functional diversity could help maintain ecosystem functioning. Spatial patterns of functional diversity can be investigated by combining assessments of community composition, species' geographic distributions, and species’ functional traits. Quantifying spatial patterns of functional diversity to aid in conservation is relevant for frugivores because they provide essential ecosystem functions and services including seed dispersal and can aid in habitat restoration. Unfortunately, functional trait information is often lacking or exists across disparate data sources. To address this knowledge gap, we compiled a trait database called Frugivoria, containing dietary, life-history, morphological, and geographical traits for birds and mammals exhibiting frugivory. This version of Frugivoria encompasses frugivores in moist montane forests of Central and South America, regions with extremely high biodiversity, yet greatly threatened by global change. The Frugivoria open database standardizes taxonomic classifications and aggregates dietary, life history, morphological and geographical information from EltonTraits and PanTHERIA, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), reference volumes and field guides, and primary literature. Along with the trait database, we include a reproducible workflow in R to generate the database and to merge occurrence records from GBIF for each species in Frugivoria.
Results/Conclusions: Frugivoria incorporates current IUCN statuses, and compared with existing trait databases, adds 26 new species (reclassifying 322), and 8 new traits such as range size and habitat specialization, providing 2,414 new traits for mammals and 6,623 new traits for birds. Frugivoria and its workflows enable researchers to quantify relationships between traits and environment, as well as spatial trends in functional diversity, contributing to basic knowledge and applied conservation of frugivores in this region. By streamlining and collating trait information from disparate sources, this open-access database will allow more comprehensive trait-based studies of frugivorous species in this ecologically important region. Frugivoria also serves as an example for how to develop and curate findable, accessible, interoperable, and reproducible (FAIR) data.