Plant traits and associated data from a warming experiment, a seabird colony, and along elevation in Svalbard.

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Christiansen, Casper T 

The Arctic is warming at a rate four times the global average, while also being exposed to other global environmental changes, resulting in widespread vegetation and ecosystem change. Integrating functional trait-based approaches with multi-level vegetation, ecosystem, and landscape data enables a holistic understanding of the drivers and consequences of these changes. In two High Arctic study systems near Longyearbyen, Svalbard, a 20-year ITEX warming experiment and elevational gradients with and without nutrient input from nesting seabirds, we collected data on vegetation composition and structure, plant functional traits, ecosystem fluxes, multispectral remote sensing, and microclimate. The dataset contains 1,962 plant records and 16,160 trait measurements from 34 vascular plant taxa, for 9 of which these are the first published trait data. By integrating these comprehensive data, we bridge knowledge gaps and expand trait data coverage, including on intraspecific trait variation. These data can offer insights into ecosystem functioning and provide baselines to assess climate and environmental change impacts. Such knowledge is crucial for effective conservation and management in these vulnerable regions.


Acknowledgements: This research was conducted at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), which provided background knowledge of the study sites and systems, accommodation, lab space, and logistical support for lab and field work during the PFTC4 course. Funding provided by the Norwegian Center for International Cooperation in Education (SIU) and the Research Council of Norway (grants 2013/10074, HNP2015/10037, INTPART 274831) made it possible to conduct this field course at Svalbard with 21 students from 12 nationalities and 4 continents as participants and co-authors to this data paper. The ITEX experiment and field site was funded by UNIS and the University of Iceland Research Funds (grants to ISJ) and the Research Council of Norway (grant 246080/E10). We thank Pernille Bronken Eidesen for introducing us to the local study systems and invaluable assistance with taxonomic identifications, Geir Wing Gabrielsen for background information on the seabird nutrient input gradient below the little auk colony in Bjørndalen, and Christine Schirmer and her team of internship students at the University of Arizona for assistance with stoichiometric and isotope analysis.

Animals, Birds, Ecosystem, Climate, Knowledge, Svalbard
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Senter for Internasjonalisering av Utdanning (Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education) (2013/10074, HNP2015/10037)