Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2016 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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TraitMan - an Online Management System for Biological Traits.
Kristjan Adojaan, Kessy Abarenkov, Urmas Kõljalg

Building: Computer Science
Room: Computer Science 3
Date: 2016-12-09 09:45 AM – 10:00 AM
Last modified: 2016-10-16


The database platform PlutoF has been developed at the Museum of Natural History, University of Tartu, Estonia. It provides various applications in different fields related to biology: ecological and taxonomic research, species monitoring, citizen science, etc. It can be used for observation and specimen data, as well as population, ecosystem and molecular data, data about scientific collections, and so forth. PlutoF provides infrastructure and services enabling data gathering, processing, analysis with various tools, reporting, and publishing. It consists of distinct modules, but the overall structure enables synergetic use of data obtained from different sources. A new module - TraitMan for traits and characters - has been developed recently.

Along with the development of TraitMan, different solutions for creating a universal and dynamic traits/characters system were investigated in terms of data model, technical specification and programming.

TraitMan allows a user to create lists of traits as hierarchical trees based on the user’s own specification, templates provided by the system, or publicly available trait lists from another workgroup or user.

List items can then be flexibly included in forms as data gathering fields for particular research projects. Fields can be customized in a variety of ways - by choosing between different field types; by adding predefined or custom units of measure; and by specifying control algorithms for each field.

For taxonomists, TraitMan enables the creation of taxon descriptions based on trait/character data, and their analysis at different taxonomic levels. The data can be used to create identification keys (e.g. for species identification, citizen science projects, etc.) and to publish them as web-based applications.

TraitMan is fully integrated with the PlutoF platform, enabling data analysis of one project or summaries over multiple projects and workgroups. It also benefits from the advanced system of permissions and data licensing implemented in PlutoF.