Freshwater traits: an integrating concept
Attributes of biological communities are commonly known as traits. In November 2017 the Food webs and stream restoration team kicked off a national workshop on freshwater traits for New Zealand. They gathered a wide range of knowledge holders and data users for freshwater species, ecosystems and management contexts across the country. Attendees had expertise in fish, invertebrates, algae and macrophytes, and discussed how traits are currently being used, the broad range of existing and potential applications, and commonalities that would help form the basis of a national database for freshwater fauna (primary producers, macroinvertebrates and fish). The one-day workshop was facilitated by BioHeritage Challenge knowledge broker Kevin Collins.
The workshop achieved consensus on basic traits common across all trophic levels. This laid a foundation for a shared database, useful to a wide range of stakeholders and applications. The workshop emphasised working together to enhance existing knowledge bases, and the potential for biological attribute data to inform research and management needs and questions.
The freshwater traits workshop and database that will emerge are a strong integrator across the BioHeritage Challenge, facilitating greater collaboration across a range of organisations and freshwater domains.