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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Brief communication 10 Oct 2018

Brief communication | 10 Oct 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Science Data (ESSD).

The Arctic Traits Database – A repository of arctic benthic invertebrate traits

Renate Degen1 and Sarah Faulwetter2,3 Renate Degen and Sarah Faulwetter
  • 1Department of Limnology and Bio-Oceanography, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria
  • 2Department of Zoology, University of Patras, 26504 Rio, Greece
  • 3Institute of Oceanography, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, 19013 Anavyssos, Greece

Abstract. The recently increased interest in marine trait-based studies highlights one general demand – the access to standardized, reference-based trait information. This demand holds especially true for polar regions, where the gathering of ecological information is still challenging. The Arctic Traits Database is a freely accessible online repository (; http:// that fulfils these requests for one important component of polar marine life, the Arctic benthic macroinvertebrates. It accounts for 1) obligate traceability of information (every entry is linked to at least one source), 2) exchangeability among trait platforms (use of most common download formats), 3) standardization (use of most common terminology and coding scheme), and 4) user friendliness (granted by an intuitive web-interface and rapid and easy download options). The combination of these aspects makes the Arctic Traits Database the currently most sophisticated online accessible trait platform in (not only) marine ecology and a role-model for prospective databases of other marine compartments or other (also non-marine) ecosystems. At present the database covers 20 traits (85 trait categories) and holds altogether 8107 trait entries for 1211 macro- and megabenthic taxa. Thus, the Arctic Traits Database will foster and facilitate trait-based approaches in polar regions in the future and increase our ecological understanding of this rapidly changing system.

Renate Degen and Sarah Faulwetter
Interactive discussion
Status: open (until 05 Dec 2018)
Status: open (until 05 Dec 2018)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Renate Degen and Sarah Faulwetter
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The Arctic Traits Database R. Degen and S. Faulwetter

Renate Degen and Sarah Faulwetter
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Short summary
Trait-based approaches (such that consider the life history, morphological, physiological and behavioral characteristics of species) promise new insights in ecology. To facilitate these approaches also in the polar regions we provide the free and easy accessible Arctic Traits Database to the scientific community. Trait information was collected from literature and via communication with experts. At present the database holds trait information for more than 1200 arctic organisms.
Trait-based approaches (such that consider the life history, morphological, physiological and...