TRAITS WORKING GROUP
Leonardo Borges (Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Brazil)
Renske Onstein (Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, Netherlands & German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research, iDiv, Germany)
The Traits Working Group continues to focus on promoting collaboration between researchers working with legume morphology, including functional trait data. Information on on-going projects, research groups, a list of legume traits and definitions, and monographs used to extract trait data are all available in the Traits WG Google Drive (https://t.ly/5yGn0), which acts as a hub for the traits WG.
2022 saw the addition of two new projects working with trait data, both on Papilionoideae, one by Liam Trethowan, Gwil Lewis, and Ruth Clark, and another by Charles Stirton. These are welcome additions, particularly as most on-going trait related work so far has been on mimosoids. For 2023, we expect novelties to remain centered on the mimosoids, as results of ongoing projects start to become available, especially those being conducted by doctoral student Rachel Ferreira in Renske Onstein’s group. In addition, Leo Borges is working with Rob Guralnick, Ryan Folk and colleagues at the University of Florida and Mississippi State University to generate a morphological dataset for many mimosoid species.
Short digests of two legume papers focused on legume trait evolution published in 2022, compiled by legume PhD students, Francisco Velásquez Puentes and Rachel Souza Ferreira, are presented elsewhere in this issue of the Bean Bag.
As these initiatives move forward, we will soon have a significant, albeit taxonomically restricted, body of legume trait data available. Facilitating the (re)use of these datasets is extremely important and should become a major goal of the legume community.
Although researchers should be free to deposit data on their preferred platform (e.g., MorphoBank), it is important to promote minimal standardization of data structure and terminology to facilitate joint use of datasets built by different projects. What should be the extent of this standardization and how should data be aggregated are important questions to be discussed and resolved by the legume research community at the forthcoming 8th International Legume Conference in Brazil in August.
In the meantime, we repeat our invitation for anyone working on legume trait data to share information about your project on the Google Drive mentioned above. It is our main tool to keep the LPWG members up to date on past and current research and to provide opportunities for increased collaboration within our community.
Dissected corollas of four Mimosa species, under study by PhD candidate Monique Maianne (Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Brazil). Left to right: M. bifurca Benth., M. elliptica Benth., M. hirsutissima Mart., M. lewisii Barneby. Photos by Monique Maianne.