About TreeType

An open project on tree phenotypes

What does TreeType aim to do?

The phenotype is the complete set of observable traits of an organism; a product of the genotype interacting with the environment. As technology is rapidly delivering ever-better understanding of the genotype, more knowledge of the phenotype is imperative. TreeType aims to fill that gap for trees in wild populations, collecting data on individual trees and their environments. TreeType is an open project and welcomes contributions from anyone willing to dedicate a little time to recording data, from single trees or whole forests as your resources allow. If there is a species for which you want to see a data collection, our voting tool allows nomination of new species for the database. Once enough recorders show an interest in recording for a nominated species, we will organise the start of a new collection.

Every tree is important!


Origins and aims
TreeType is an initiative of the EVOLTREE network and was developed through discussions with scientists working on phenotyping projects, drawing particularly on expertise from assessing field trials. As a result of these discussions, an optimal set of phenotypic traits was identified, providing a good overall description of the phenotype, with several major life history categories covered (ie.reproduction, defence, growth and maintenance, phenology and physiology). We felt that with this set of traits, valuable information could be gained on adaptive variation across the distributions of the focal species. It was not intended that this should be a fixed list, but rather that this should provide an easy, accessible core dataset, achievable by most recorders regardless of experience. Where the particular characteristics of a species or interests of a group demand collection of additional traits, this can easily be accommodated by the project.

The TreeType project will be overseen by a small coordinating group drawn from the EVOLTREE membership. The coordinators will act to maintain the website and to facilitate requests for new species to be added to the database. TreeType will aim to get started using a core set of species for which we already know there is interest. For each species, a main contact will be identified by the group involved, who will direct and promote data collection. For adding new species to the collecting initiative the species name can be nominated, after which it will go to a vote. Once a species has a minimum critical mass it will be added to the database and a main contact will be identified. Then data collection is up to you!

The website has been developed to provide a central recording tool for data collection. The site and underlying database will be maintained by AIT in Austria, a member of the EVOLTREE group. The website will be improved in response to any feedback we get so please send us comments. We also hope to provide a smartphone app linked to the site in the near future.

We will be making the data collected through the TreeType project freely available, subject only to the user contacting the TreeType managers to confirm their interest and intentions. It will be expected that any use of the data for publications or reports makes a clear reference to the project and offers those TreeType contributors who have been directly involved in collection of the relevant data the opportunity to be involved in collaborative work. This is not an expectation that any contributor should be a co-author on any publication arising from the data, but rather that all contributors should be made aware of the data use, should be offered an opportunity for involvement, and would receive appropriate acknowledgement of any significant intellectual input.