Calculating and visualizing plant principal strategies

Images 
Common Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum)

Common Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) calculated to having a C/CS strategy class. Photo by Cailin O'Connor Fitzpatrick via iNaturalist licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

In plants, the competitor - stress tolerator – ruderal (CSR) theory is used to describe different principal strategies. In this work, researchers compile functional trait records for more than 3,000 plant species supplied with GBIF-mediated taxonomic information to create a global analysis tool to derive CSR plant strategies using three simple traits: leaf area and fresh/dry weight. Calibration of the tool revealed that the high values of the traits were mutually exclusive, as dense, tough leaves were not large, while soft and acquisitive leaves were not tough. Large leaves were only seen in intermediates. The tool, called StrafeFY, is based on a simple spreadsheet that allows researchers to input trait measurements for any number of plant specimens, and retrieve a readout of CSR strategy. The tool also provides values for easy plotting of ternary graphs to visualize and compare relative proportions of CSR classes.

Citation information 

Pierce S, Negreiros D, Cerabolini BEL, Kattge J, Díaz S, Kleyer M, Shipley B, Wright SJ, Soudzilovskaia NA, Onipchenko VG, van Bodegom PM, Frenette-Dussault C, Weiher E, Pinho BX, Cornelissen JHC, Grime JP, Thompson K, Hunt R, Wilson PJ, Buffa G, Nyakunga OC, Reich PB, Caccianiga M, Mangili F, Ceriani RM, Luzzaro A, Brusa G, Siefert A, Barbosa NPU, Chapin FS III, Cornwell WK, Fang J, Fernandes GW, Garnier E, Le Stradic S, Peñuelas J, Melo FPL, Slaviero A, Tabarelli M and Tampucci D (2016) A global method for calculating plant CSR ecological strategies applied across biomes world-wide. Functional Ecology. Wiley-Blackwell, 444–457. Available at doi:10.1111/1365-2435.12722.