||Towards a thesaurus of plant characteristics: an ecological contribution
||Garnier, E.; Stahl, U.; Laporte, M.-A.; Kattge, J.; Mougenot, I.; Kühn, I.
; Laporte, B.; Amiaud, B.; Ahrestani, F.S.; Bönisch, G.; Bunker, D.E.; Cornelissen, J.H.C.; Díaz, S.; Enquist, B.J.; Gachet, S.; Jaureguiberry, P.; Kleyer, M.; Lavorel, S.; Maicher, L.; Pérez-Harguindeguy, N.; Poorter, H.; Schildhauer, M.; Shipley, B.; Violle, C.; Weiher, E.; Wirth, C.; Wright, I.J.; Klotz, S.
||Journal of Ecology
||biodiversity; controlled vocabulary; ecology; informatics; ontology; plant characteristics; plant environmental association; plant trait; semantics; thesaurus
|UFZ wide themes
research produces a tremendous amount of data, but the diversity in
scales and topics covered and the ways in which studies are carried out
result in large numbers of small, idiosyncratic data sets using
heterogeneous terminologies. Such heterogeneity can be attributed, in
part, to a lack of standards for acquiring, organizing and describing
data. Here, we propose a terminological resource, a Thesaurus Of Plant characteristics (TOP), whose aim is to harmonize and formalize concepts for plant characteristics widely used in ecology.
concentrates on two types of plant characteristics: traits and
environmental associations. It builds on previous initiatives for
several aspects: (i) characteristics are designed following the
entity-quality (EQ) model (a characteristic is modelled as the ‘Quality’
<Q> of an ‘Entity’ <E>) used in the context of Open
Biological Ontologies; (ii) whenever possible, the Entities and
Qualities are taken from existing terminology standards, mainly the
Plant Ontology (PO) and Phenotypic Quality Ontology (PATO) ontologies;
and (iii) whenever a characteristic already has a definition, if
appropriate, it is reused and referenced. The development of TOP, which
complies with semantic web principles, was carried out through the
involvement of experts from both the ecology and the semantics research
communities. Regular updates of TOP are planned, based on community
feedback and involvement.
- TOP provides names, definitions,
units, synonyms and related terms for about 850 plant characteristics.
TOP is available online (www.top-thesaurus.org),
and can be browsed using an alphabetical list of characteristics, a
hierarchical tree of characteristics, a faceted and a free-text search,
and through an Application Programming Interface.
Harmonizing definitions of concepts, as proposed by TOP, forms the
basis for better integration of data across heterogeneous data sets and
terminologies, thereby increasing the potential for data reuse. It also
allows enhanced scientific synthesis. TOP therefore has the potential to
improve research and communication not only within the field of
ecology, but also in related fields with interest in plant functioning
|Persistent UFZ Identifier
|Garnier, E., Stahl, U., Laporte, M.-A., Kattge, J., Mougenot, I., Kühn, I., Laporte, B., Amiaud, B., Ahrestani, F.S., Bönisch, G., Bunker, D.E., Cornelissen, J.H.C., Díaz, S., Enquist, B.J., Gachet, S., Jaureguiberry, P., Kleyer, M., Lavorel, S., Maicher, L., Pérez-Harguindeguy, N., Poorter, H., Schildhauer, M., Shipley, B., Violle, C., Weiher, E., Wirth, C., Wright, I.J., Klotz, S. (2017):
Towards a thesaurus of plant characteristics: an ecological contribution
J. Ecol. 105 (2), 298 - 309