14 Oct 2022
14 Oct 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

AlgaeTraits: a trait database for (European) seaweeds

Sofie Vranken1,2,, Marine Robuchon3,4,5,, Stefanie Dekeyzer1, Ignacio Bárbara6, Inka Bartsch7, Aurélie Blanfuné8, Charles-François Boudouresque8, Wim Decock1, Christophe Destombe9, Bruno de Reviers3, Pilar Díaz-Tapia6,10, Anne Herbst11, Romain Julliard4, Rolf Karez12, Priit Kersen13, Stacy A. Krueger-Hadfield14, Ralph Kuhlenkamp15, Akira F. Peters16, Viviana Peña6, Cristina Piñeiro-Corbeira6, Fabio Rindi17, Florence Rousseau4, Jan Rueness18, Hendrik Schubert19, Kjersti Sjøtun20, Marta Sansón21, Dan Smale22, Thierry Thibaut8, Myriam Valero9, Leen Vandepitte1, Bart Vanhoorne1, Alba Vergés23, Marc Verlaque8, Christophe Vieira24, Line Le Gall3,, Frederik Leliaert25,, and Olivier De Clerck1, Sofie Vranken et al.
  • 1Biology Department, Research Group Phycology, Ghent University, Ghent, 9000, Belgium
  • 2Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), InnovOcean Campus, Jacobsenstraat 1, Oostende, 8400, Belgium
  • 3Institut de Systématique, Evolution, Biodiversité (ISYEB), Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Sorbonne Université, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Université des Antilles, Paris, 75005, France
  • 4Centre d' Ecologie et des Sciences de la Conservation (CESCO), Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Sorbonne Université, Paris, 75005, France
  • 5Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, Directorate for Sustainable Resources, Ispra (VA), 21027, Italy
  • 6BIOCOST Research Group, Faculdade de Ciencias, Universidade da Coruña, A Coruña, 15071, Spain
  • 7Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, 27570, Germany
  • 8Aix Marseille University and Université de Toulon, CNRS, IRD, Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO), Marseille, UM 110, France
  • 9IRL 3614, CNRS, SU, UACH, PUC, Station Biologique de Roscoff, Place Georges Teissier, Roscoff, 29688, France
  • 10Centro Nacional Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO-CSIC), Centro Oceanográfico de A Coruña, A Coruña, 15001, Spain
  • 11Department Maritime Systeme, Interdisziplinäre Fakultät, Rostock, 18057, Germany
  • 12State Agency for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Areas Schleswig-Holstein, Flintbek, 24220, Germany
  • 13Agriculture and Food Board, Teaduse 2, Saku, Harjumaa, 75501, Estonia
  • 14Department of Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmigham, 35294, Alabama, United States
  • 15Phycomarin, Hamburg, 21149, Germany
  • 16Bezhin Rosko, Santec, 29250, France
  • 17Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell’Ambiente, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, Ancona, 60131 Italy
  • 18Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, 0315, Norway
  • 19Institute for Biosciences, University Rostock, Rostock, 18051, Germany
  • 20Department of Biological Sciences, University of Bergen, Bergen, 5020, Norway
  • 21Departamento de Botánica, Ecología y Fisiología Vegetal, Universidad de La Laguna, La Laguna, 38200, Canary Islands
  • 22Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Citadel Hill, Plymouth, PL1 2PB, United Kingdom
  • 23Marine Resources and Biodiversity Research Group (GRMAR), Institute of Aquatic Ecology, University of Girona, Girona, 17003, Spain
  • 24Research Institute for Basic Sciences, Jeju National University, Jeju, 63243, Korea
  • 25Meise Botanic Garden, Meise, 1860, Belgium
  • These authors contributed equally as first authors.
  • These authors contributed equally as last authors.

Abstract. The analysis of biological and ecological traits has a long history in evolutionary and ecological research. However, trait data are often scattered and standardised terminology that transcends taxonomic and biogeographical context are generally missing. As part of the development of a global trait database of marine species, we collated trait information for European seaweeds and structured the data within the standardised framework of the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS). We collected 45,175 records for 21 biologically and ecologically relevant traits of seaweeds. This resulted in a trait database for 1,745 European seaweed species of which more than half (56 %) of the records were documented at the species level, while the remaining 44 % was documented at a higher taxonomic level and subsequently inherited at lower levels. The trait database for European seaweeds will serve as a foundation for future research on diversity and evolution of seaweeds, and their responses to global changes. The data will contribute to developing detailed trait-based ecosystem models, and will be an important tool to inform marine conservation policies. The data is publicly accessible through the AlgaeTraits portal,, doi:, (AlgaeTraits, 2022).

Sofie Vranken et al.

Status: open (until 23 Dec 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2022-329', Anonymous Referee #1, 03 Nov 2022 reply

Sofie Vranken et al.

Data sets

AlgaeTraits: a trait database for (European) seaweeds AlgaeTraits editors

Sofie Vranken et al.


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Short summary
We present AlgaeTraits, a high-quality seaweed trait database. The data is structured within the framework of WoRMS and is supported by an expert editor community. With 45,175 records for 21 prioritised biological and ecological traits, and a taxonomic coverage of 1,745 European species, AlgaeTraits significantly advances previous efforts to provide standardised seaweed trait data. AlgaeTraits will serve as a foundation for future research on diversity and evolution of seaweeds.