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Abstract Detail

Fungal functional traits in a changing world

Wilson, Nathan [1].

Mobilizing Fungal Trait Data Using the Encyclopedia of Life.

The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL, is a project working to provide global access to knowledge about life on Earth. It has recently released the new TraitBank feature (, which aggregates trait data about biological species. These data are stored in a machine-readable data store (a Virtuoso RDF “triple-store”) and made available through an easy-to-use web interface, downloadable as a spreadsheet.   The structured data interface on EOL is designed both for scientists who need access to all the rich metadata as well as for non-scientists who want overviews of "quick facts" and definitions.  The current system supports search, download, and a managed upload process. Direct addition of data and API functions are in active development.  For now, most data are provided via imports from other databases or by transforming datasets found in the literature into Darwin Core Archive-like spreadsheets.   TraitBank is designed to hold data from across the entire tree of life.  To date the fungal trait data is very sparse. Mobilizing trait data in a publicly available repository is of great value to the scientific community and no longer hard to do. Applications range from the identification of species and other phylogenetic groups, to identifying non-phylogenetic groups of interest (e.g., white- and brown-rotters, truffles, etc.), to correlating traits between species to understand ecosystem function. In addition to aggregating trait data in existing literature or databases, we anticipate a rapid rise in annotations about attributes on specimens and citizen science observations.   The Mushroom Observer ( website has begun the process of developing a system for adding to and using data from TraitBank. This talk will explain what EOL and TraitBank are, touch on the underlying architecture, and discuss the importance of freely available trait data. It will then focus on applications of and making contributions to TraitBank and finish with plans for future development including interfaces under development within Mushroom Observer.

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Related Links:
Encyclopedia of Life TraitBank
Mushroom Observer

1 - Marine Biological Laboratory, Ecosystems Center, 7 MBL St., Woods Hole, MA, 02543, United States

Encyclopedia of Life
Mushroom Observer
morphological species complex
phylogenetic species.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY1
Location: Auditorium/Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
Date: Monday, June 9th, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: SY1006
Abstract ID:116
Candidate for Awards:None

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