April 2020
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Photos & text

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Photos & texts by Sabina Burrascano is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Italy License.
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Dry grasslands in Slovakia

Last week the European Dry Grasslands Group meeting took place in Slovakia.

After the conference three nice excursions were led by researcher from Slovakia and Czech Republic. I want to share some of the information and pictures took during those days, in this post I’ll especially write down the things that impressed me the most.

How to measure leaf area

After searching for plant functional traits data on the web, I’m now trying to fill the gaps for species missing in the databases. 

Measuring plant traits can be very time consuming and sometimes expensive tools are needed.

However to measure leaf area you don’t necessarily need to buy an area meter or to waste days counting quadrats […]

The massive take over of flowers

A paper that absolutely deserves your time, even if you are not a specialist in the field (also because it is free for anyone online), is the one by Frank Berendse and Marten Scheffer (Ecology letters 12: 865-872).

I report here some of their observations and conclusions.

Charles darwin, the author of the On the origin of […]

Bug in LEDA traitbase

Using LEDA database on plants functional traits I found out a bug with regards to clonal growth traits.

I wrote to the authors and they blocked this trait for the moment.

However if after reading my post you downloaded information on clonal growth from LEDA double-check it and wait for the bug to be fixed!

Why are tropical rainforests so diverse?

This title is shared with one paragraph of one of my favourite readings, perfect for friday late afternoon: The Encyclopedia of Biodiversity. I report here some of the concepts recalled in that paragraph by I.M. Turner since I found them definitely interesting.

Tropical rainforests are the most species rich terrestrial ecosystems especially in terms of vascular […]

Response and effect

Among plant functional traits it is now widely accepted to distinguish response and effect traits.

Response traits are those associated to plant response to environmental factors.

Effect traits are those related to the plant effects on ecosystem functioning.

The first group of traits affect the resilience of an ecosystem; the second determine the effects of plants on ecosystem […]

Plant functional traits web databases

Our planet hosts an incredible number of seed plants. Published estimates varied between about 231.000 and 320.000 but the latest  global checklist  rise this number up to 400.000 (see

The incredible diversity of plants is gorgeous, however it poses relevant problems to who wants to study them. The fact that after learning everything about one […]

Plants don't lie

Plants don’t lie…if they did there would be no reason to study them. If a plant grows spontaneously in a place, you instantly know a lot of things about that place: its present features and its history.  In  fact that place is surely suitable for the plant and the latter is fit to that environment.

You […]